World News brief, Thursday September 6

Iran sending military equipment to Syria via Iraqi airspace, despite US pressure; Clinton meets with Chinese president; Japan to purchase three of five disputed islands in East China Sea; Bahrain upholds prison sentences for activists; World Bank chief visits Ivory Coast; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iran Shipping Military Equipment to Syria Through Iraq

Iran has restarted sending military equipment to Syria via Iraqi airspace as part of its effort to strengthen the faltering regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (NYT), senior U.S. officials reportedly told the New York Times. U.S. President Barack Obama had pressured Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to close its airspace to Iran earlier this year, but it apparently reopened an air corridor between Iran and Syria in July. Iran has provided Syria with training and technology to monitor the internet and intercept communications, while also providing military training for the government's Alawite paramilitary forces.


"In any event, Syria's civil war is beginning to have the makings of a proxy conflict. The opposition has long claimed that Iran is aiding its sole regional ally with more than just words--for instance, with drones and snipers. The rebels, for their part, have yet to receive weapons from their friends in the Gulf or Turkey that are sophisticated or substantial enough to tilt the balance against the regime. British and American aid is still non-lethal: mainly communications, logistics and advice," says the Economist.

"There is of course no public consent as such, but some of Syria's internal dynamics have shifted in favor of the regime. Many in Syria have made up their minds about standing with the regime until the end. Though some do not support the violence, they believe that blood is a price that has to be paid to prevent the country from lapsing into chaos. Others want a decisive end to the conflict, regardless of who delivers, and currently see the opposition as unable to tip the balance," writes Hassan Hassan for



Clinton Meets With Chinese President

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Chinese President Hu Jintao today in Beijing, noting that the United States and China are working to "build habits of cooperation" (WSJ), despite areas of disagreement on issues such as trade. There were also no apparent breakthroughs on issues such as tensions in the South China Sea and the international response to violence in Syria.

JAPAN: The Japanese government has reportedly reached a deal to purchase three of the five disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea (Telegraph) from the Kurihara family. The islands are controlled by Japan, but claimed by both China and Taiwan.



Bahrain upholds prison sentences for activists

World Bank chief visits Ivory Coast

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