World News Brief, Wednesday September 5

Record number of refugees flee Syria; Clinton urges ASEAN nations to develop code of conduct for resolving disputes with China; Chinese government official Ling Jihua demoted over car crash scandal; suicide bomber rams vehicle into US consulate vehicle in Peshawar; Democratic National Convention kicks off in North Carolina; and more

Top of the Agenda: Record Number of Refugees Flee Syria, UN Says

Around 100,000 people fled Syria (RFE/RL) for neighboring countries in August, the largest monthly figure for Syrian refugees since the political uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began close to eighteen months ago, the UN's refugee agency said today. A total of 235,000 refugees have escaped Syria since the onset of the conflict, a number that nearly doubled amid increased violence between opposition and government forces last month. Meanwhile, Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (BBC), met with Assad in Damascus today.


"[T]he situation on the ground has changed, and so the calculus of outsiders must change as well. U.S. President Barack Obama's administration should accept that the only desirable outcome in Syria is a victory by the rebels and should work much more actively than it has both to hasten the day of that victory and to avoid the terrible settling of accounts that might well accompany such an outcome," writes James Traub for

"The rupture in Assad's edifice of fear happened in February 2011, but 18 months later, despite the defection of some senior figures and thousands of its foot-soldiers, the core security forces on which Assad relies remain very much intact, and brutally effective. Far from being ground down by the attrition of more than a year of full-blown civil war, the regime's core fighting forces remain more determined and fanatical than ever," writes TIME's Tony Karon.



Clinton Calls for ASEAN Unity Over South China Sea

During a visit to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to make "meaningful progress" in developing a code of conduct (AP) for resolving disputes with China in the contested South China Sea.

In this CFR Contingency Planning Memo, Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies discusses the significant risk of conflict in the South China Sea and how the United States can prevent becoming involved in an armed clash.

CHINA: Ling Jihua, a powerful government official and ally of outgoing President Hu Jintao, was demoted over the weekend in connection with a deadly car crash scandal (Guardian) involving his son, amid a once-a-decade leadership transition.



Suicide bomber rams vehicle into US consulate vehicle in Peshawar

Democratic National Convention kicks off

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