World News Brief, Wednesday January 25

Saudi Arabia withdraws from Gulf Cooperation Council--Arab League to meet today to decide whether to abandon the mission; Chinese open fire on Tibetan protesters; EU to ease sanctions on Burma; EU finance ministers reject Greek private debt deal; US defends NATO bombing mistake; and more

Top of the Agenda: Gulf States Quit Syria Mission

Saudi Arabia and its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council withdrew from the Arab League's monitoring mission (Reuters) in Syria after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad refused to step down and end a ten-month-old crackdown on anti-government protesters and opposition forces. The Arab League--which deployed monitors in Syria to oversee implementation of an agreed upon peace plan--will meet today to determine whether the body will abandon the mission altogether. Syrian officials, meanwhile, have accused the Arab League of implementing a foreign conspiracy (al-Jazeera) against Syria.


"The silver lining in all this is the Arab League's dismal efforts have drawn attention to a conflict that the international community otherwise seems to want to just go away. The Obama administration's high-level inattention towards the bloodshed in Syria is curious, given just how inimical such a posture is to American interests and values," writes CFR's Robert M. Danin on

"The local co-ordination committees condemned the prolongation of the observer mission, pointing out that 795 Syrians had been killed during the first month of its operation. Syria's protesters are on their own, but the league may have given leverage to those who oppose Russia's efforts to keep on arming the Assad regime," argues this Guardian editorial.

"The Iranians aren't giving up on [Assad], and in Moscow Vladimir Putin won't abandon the son of the Soviet Union's favorite Arab tyrant, Hafez Assad. Far from it. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week rejected any talk of new UN sanctions or arms embargo on Syria. He even defended Moscow's right to arm Mr. Assad as he kills more civilians," says this Wall Street Journal editorial.



Chinese Security Forces Fire on Tibetans

Chinese security forces opened fire on Tibetan protesters in China's western Sichuan province (NYT), near the border with Tibet, killing at least one person and wounding thirty-two.

BURMA: The European Union said it would ease some sanctions on Burma (WSJ)--including lifting visa bans on the country's top political leaders--in order to reward a series of democratic reforms implemented by the military-backed civilian government over the past few months.



EU finance minister reject Greek private debt deal

US defends NATO bombing blunder – "there were mistakes on both sides"


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