Obama mounts campaign to win support for military strike on Syria; Tony Abbott pledges to redice taxes and boost Australian economy; Muslim rebels alleged to have attacked villages in Philippines; drone and Taliban attacks hit Afghan civilians; US spied on Brazilian oil firm; and more
Top of the Agenda: Obama, Assad Take their Cases to the Press
As U.S. president Barack Obama and his administration mount an extensive media campaign to promote a military strike on Syria (WSJ), Syrian president Bashar al-Assad granted an interview to CBS News in which he denied using chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb last month (AP). Russia's foreign minister met in Moscow with his Syrian counterpart, where both urged the United States to focus on reviving efforts for a peace conference in Geneva rather than taking military action (Reuters). Meanwhile in Syria, opposition fighters linked to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups have been hiding their weapons and dispersing forces, believing that they will be targeted (Guardian) in possible U.S. strikes.
"If the Obama administration wants to send a message to Assad that he accurately understands, the United States must provide not only a credible response to his recent use of chemical weapons but also make him believe that response is part of a larger strategy to compel him to stop slaughtering his own people—by any means," CFR's Robert Danin writes in the Washington Post.
"In order to dislodge the Assad regime's premier fighting forces—the Fourth Armored Division and the Republican Guard—the Arab League should assemble an Arab army of 75,000 to 100,000 men to take up positions along Jordan's border with Syria—a potential staging ground for an invasion," write Nawaf Obaid and Jamal Khashoggi in the New York Times.
"As with other post–Cold War atrocities, the use of chemical weapons has led to calls for the United States to 'do something' to stop the perpetrators. Yet exactly what that something should be—which would not make things worse, not cost too much in blood and treasure, and not have unanticipated consequences—is utterly unclear," writes Richard K. Betts in Foreign Affairs.
Australia's New PM Tackles Economic Issues
Incoming prime minister Tony Abbott, who won Australian elections on Saturday, said his administration would move quickly to reduce taxes and boost a slowing economy as the country's mining boom fades (WSJ).
PHILIPPINES: Suspected Muslim rebels have attacked several villages in southern Philippines and taken over two hundred hostages (Al Jazeera). At least six people have been killed in clashes.
Drone and Taliban attacks hit Afghan civilians
US spied on Brazilian oil firm
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.