Syrian Prime Minister survives bomb attack; Japanese prime minister visits Kremlin; Chinese police arrest suspects in Xinjiang clash; CIA under fire for trying to influence Afghan government with bags of cash; new Italian prime minister faces confidence vote; and more
Top of the Agenda: Syrian Prime Minister Survives Bomb Attack
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki survived an assassination attempt (Reuters) on his convoy in Damascus on Monday. Six people were killed in the blast in the latest in a series of rebel attacks on government targets, including a December bombing that wounded Assad's interior minister. Observers say Halki wields little power, but that the incident (AFP) was a blow to the regime and highlighted the rebels' growing ability to target Assad's authority in the war that has cost more than 70,000 lives.
"Possible military choices range from limited one-off missile strikes from ships - one of the less complicated scenarios - to bolder operations like carving out no-fly safe zones. One of the most politically unpalatable possibilities envisions sending tens of thousands of U.S. forces to help secure Syrian chemical weapons," write Phil Stewart and Peter Apps for Reuters.
"Those who view the Geneva document as a road map written in stone are missing this vital point. Some who oppose the regime argue that Assad has no place in a managed transition. Others, including some who believe only in a military solution and want to scuttle a diplomatic option that includes the regime, maintain the opposite. In such hands, the Geneva text threatens to become less an avenue to progress than a diplomatic dead end—and a weapon in the hands of one antagonist or the other," writes Geoffrey Aronson for al-Monitor.
"The dilemma for Obama is that his reasons for not intervening in Syria remain sound. As Iraq and Afghanistan attest, it is easier to get into war than to get out, and nation building is easier said than done. The American public is weary of foreign interventions, and Washington has no shortage of other foreign policy problems demanding its attention," writes CFR's James Lindsay.
Abe Visits Kremlin
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe arrived Sunday in Moscow (KyodoNews), where he and Russian president Vladimir Putin are expected to revive stalled territorial talks and strengthen economic ties. The trip marks first official visit to Russia by a Japanese prime minister in ten years.
CHINA: Police arrested more suspects (AP) linked to a clash that killed twenty-one in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, home to millions of Turkic Muslim Uighurs.
CIA caught trying to influence Afghan president Karzai with cash
New Italian prime minister faces confidence vote
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.