April 26th, 2011
08:53 AM ET

Tuesday Roundup: Syria crackdown intensifies; 'Age of America' ends in 2016

Overview

– Syria intensifies crackdown on protests, but at least one high-ranking Syrian military commander refuse to participate in bloody predawn raid.

– Yemen's opposition agrees to plan for President Saleh's departure

– UK Defense Minister seems to threaten Gadhafi with assassination

– The International Monetary Fund projects 2016 as the year China overtakes the U.S. economy

– Josef Joffe argues that the Arab people aren't obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute

Reports

Syria intensifies crackdown on protests (Al Jazeera)

Syrian security forces have arrested at least 500 pro-democracy activists, a rights group said, as the government continues a violent crackdown on anti-government protests across the country.

The arrests followed the deployment of Syrian troops backed by tanks and heavy armour on the streets of two southern towns, the Syrian rights organisation Sawasiah said on Tuesday.

The group said it had received reports that at least 20 people were killed in the city of Deraa in the aftermath of the raid by troops loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad on Monday. But communications have been cut in the city, making it difficult to confirm the information.

Deadly attack on protesters raises questions about Syria's stability (CNN)

With reports emerging Monday that at least one high-ranking Syrian military commander refused to participate in a bloody, predawn raid that left dozens dead in the southern border city of Daraa - the heart of Syria's weeks-long civil unrest, questions are being raised about possible cracks in President Bashar al-Assad's hold over the military.

Yemen's opposition 'agrees to Gulf plan' (Al Jazeera)

'Give up now or we’ll kill you,' Liam Fox warns Gaddafi as he starts talks with U.S. on widening scope of airstrikes (Daily Mail)

Defence Secretary Liam Fox will meet senior U.S. commanders today to draw up a final plan to finish Colonel Gaddafi. Before flying to Washington last night, Dr Fox warned the dictator and his commanders they face assassination unless they give up now.

He said: 'If the regime continues to wage war on its people, those who are involved in those command-and-control assets need to recognise that we regard them as legitimate targets. Those who are... controlling the regime's activities against its own people, would have to recognise the risks they would have if they were there during Nato strikes.' He added: 'Colonel Gaddafi is the one who is standing in the way of a peaceful resolution in Libya.'

Do you agree that Gadhafi is a legitimate target for NATO strikes?

Will the 'Age of America' end in 2016? (CNN)

Is the 'Age of America' drawing to a close? According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its demise as the leading economic power is five years away and the next president of the United States will preside over an economy that plays second fiddle to China's.

The lender posted data on its World Economic Outlook that puts 2016 as Year Zero for China as the world's dominant economic power - the year when China's growth trajectory intersects the decline of the U.S.'s share of world gross domestic product in terms of purchasing price parity.

Analyses

Rami Khouri reflects on the epic battle confronting Syria:

The next few weeks will be decisive for Assad, because in the other Arab revolts the third-to-sixth weeks of street protests were the critical moment that determined whether the regime would collapse or persist. Syria is now in its fourth week. Having lost ground to street demonstrators recently, the Assad-Baathist-dominated secular Arab nationalist state’s response in the weeks ahead will likely determine whether it will collapse in ruins or regroup and live on for more years.

Josef Joffe argues that Arab peoples aren't obsessed with anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. It's their rulers who are.

Shoddy political theories—ideologies, really—never die because they are immune to the facts. The most glaring is this: These revolutions have unfolded without the usual anti-American and anti-Israeli screaming. It's not that the demonstrators had run out of Stars and Stripes to trample, or were too concerned about the environment to burn Benjamin Netanyahu in effigy. It's that their targets were Hosni Mubarak, Zine el Abidine Ben-Ali, Moammar Gadhafi and the others—no stooges of Zionism they. In Benghazi, the slogan was: "America is our friend!"

Bruce Reidel discusses how America should navigate the end of the Arab police states:

For America, the end of an era when we were in bed with the secret police from Rabat to Muscat will be uneasy. The police states helped us fight communism and al Qaeda. Some like Egypt made peace with Israel even when it was very unpopular at home. Now some will be toppled but others will survive and we need to have working, if not close, relations with both the revolutionaries in Egypt and the counter-revolutionaries in Saudi Arabia. In short we will need to play both sides of history while it moves at different speeds in different places. But we should not have any doubts as to where our values and interests ultimately come out. The end of the mukhabarat era is a good thing.


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Topics: Libya • Middle East • Military • Syria

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Doctor Strangelove

    Who cares? Move on. This is all about our so-called NATO allies [Turkey and Azerbiajan] attempting to extort more money, power and influence. These are the same people who brought you the Armenian/Assyrian/Pontian/Chaldean and etc...Genocides. They were also the masterminds for the terrorist organization called "Ergenekon" ["Mujahadeen aka Taliban aka Al Queada]. 
    These people haven't even come to grips with their past. And, we want them to do what now? 

    Pathetic!

    If they really want to bring democracy to these countries, then they should read Sir Arthur C. Clarke's book titled "The Last Theorem." That is the perfect instruction manual, suggestion guide etc....

    April 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Reply

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