World News Brief, Thursday February 23

Homs crackdown continues for 20th day, as two foreign journalists killed; Analysis: the role of business owners and questions about military intervention; Rudd resigns prefacing battle for leadership of Australian Labor party; Iran denies nuclear inspectors access to plant; UN council to vote on more peacekeepers for Somalia; Cameron declares al-Shabab a "substatial" threat; and more

Top of the Agenda: Syrian Army Shells Homs; Two Foreign Journalists Killed

Syrian security forces continued a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and opposition forces in the central city of Homs for the twentieth straight day, killing nine Syrians and two foreign journalists (al-Jazeera). A US reporter with the UK's Sunday Times, Marie Colvin, and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed when Syrian forces shelled a makeshift media center in the Bab Amr neighborhood. The opposition Syrian National Council said Wednesday that "military intervention" may be the only solution to ending President Bashar al-Assad's deadly, year-long assault.


"Opposition groups believe Assad's financial woes could intensify if they are able to mobilize one key group inside the country: business owners. The businesses have been crucial to keeping cities like Aleppo and Damascus functioning relatively normally through months of turmoil," writes TIME's Vivienne Walt.

"Military intervention in Syria is ill-conceived, short-sighted, counter-productive, and likely to generate more killings and massacres rather than stop them. Unlike any other Arab nation, Syria is home to varied and numerous assortments of religious sects, tribes, ethnicities and historic rivalries," writes CFR's Ed Husain at the Economist.

"What is being suggested is the establishment of designated 'buffer zones,' 'safe zones' or 'humanitarian corridors' that would serve the purpose of protecting civilian populations, ensure the flow of humanitarian assistance and--more controversially--help establish a beachhead for Syrian rebels from which to more effectively resist the Syrian regime," writes Brookings' Shadi Hamid at the Economist.



Australian Foreign Minister Resigns

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd resigned his post (SMH) at a press conference in Washington D.C., saying he did not have the support of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Rudd was ousted as prime minister in June 2010 when Gillard contested his leadership.

SOUTH KOREA: President Lee Myung-bak called on China to respect "international norms" (NYT) by not repatriating a wave of recent refugees who fled North Korea.



Iran sends nuclear inspectors packing

UN to increase peacekeeping force as pressure builds on al-Shabab


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