Obama tells Bashar al-Assad US will intervene if Syria uses stockpiled "unconventional" weapons; South Korea's ruling party nominates first female candidate; divers recover body of Philippine Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo after plane crash; Ethiopian leader dies in Brussels; Ecuador warns UK against entering embassy to get Assange; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama Threatens Syria With Military Intervention

U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday warned the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the United States would intervene militarily if it employed its stockpile of unconventional weapons (NYT) in its eighteen-month battle with opposition forces. Syria is suspected of maintaining chemical weapons, but it is unclear whether the regime has biological weapons in its arsenal. While Obama has shied away from calls by some at home and abroad to implement a no-fly zone over Syria or arm the opposition, he said the circulation or use of unconventional weapons "would change my calculus."

Analysis

"While so far the United States and Europe have decided that the conflict is too complicated to resolve with a Libya-like mission, most countries in the region are taking sides. The Shiite-led states support the government. On the other side, Sunni states back the rebels. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have provided weapons and cash. The Turkish Prime Minister discreetly established a border base camp for regime officers defecting to the F.S.A. Away from the Muslim world, the conflict has been no less divisive," writes the New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson.

"Those arguing for military intervention say the longer the United States holds back, the less influence Washington will have with the rebels. But even if American troops could safely land a whole new president and parliament in Damascus, that's no guarantee the replacement regime will be grateful. Debts of thanks are almost never bankable and often make for resentments," writes Newsweek's Christopher Dickey.

"The reality is that Syria is in the middle of a complex internal struggle with a divided opposition, regional players with diverse agendas, and competing great powers. There's no single force on the ground--or constellation of outside powers--that can impose order. For the United States to enter the fray as a quasi-combatant would make matters more complicated, not less," writes Aaron David Miller for ForeignPolicy.com.

 

PACIFIC RIM

South Korea's Ruling Party Nominates First Female Candidate

South Korea's governing conservative Saenuri Party yesterday nominated Park Geun-hye (NYT), the daughter of former president Park Chung-hee, to be its candidate for the country's presidential election in December.

PHILIPPINES: Divers today recovered the body of Philippine Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo (WSJ) in the sea off the coast of the central Masbate province, where his plane crashed three days prior.

 

ELSEWHERE:

 Ethiopian leader dies in Brussels

Ecuador warns UK against entering London embassy to get Assange

 

 This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org. 

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