The United States along with up to 100 other countries recognized Syria’s opposition coalition at a “Friends of the Syrian People” conference in Morocco today. President Obama announced formal support for Syrian rebels—which likely opens the door to military as well as humanitarian aid—yesterday just after the State Department designated one rebel faction, Jabhat al-Nusra, as a terrorist organization and an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The confused state of Obama policy on Syria corresponds to the confused state of the Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. It also puts the United States in the position of supporting some factions that actually honed their fighting skills battling U.S. forces in Iraq, pointed out Naval Postgraduate School professor Glenn Robinson. The most organized opposition force inside Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood, Robinson wrote, and “banking on the well-heeled Syrian expatriate community to come to power for any length of time is a losing bet. The exiles may have won the support of the Obama administration and others, but have little chance of holding power in Syria for any length of time, barring international occupation of the country.”
Hundreds of thousands of survivors of Typhoon Bopha “desperately” need aid in the storm’s aftermath, according to relief workers on the ground in the southern Philippines. The death toll from the storm has passed 600 and the number missing has jumped to 900 after families and fishing companies reporting losing contact with 300 fishermen at sea.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford was confirmed by the Senate as the newest commander for the international forces in Afghanistan, charged with overseeing the final two years of the U.S.-led war and executing the White House plan to phase out troops and leave a small number behind after 2014. He takes over from Gen. John Allen, now embroiled in an investigation related to emails with Floridian Jill Kelley, who sparked the probe that led to CIA Director David Petraeus’ November resignation.
Buddhist monks led a mob of about 1,000 in Sri Lanka on Sunday, overpowering police to vandalize church property and beat a pastor.
In Great Britain the parliamentary debate over same-sex marriage has begun.
They say the polar ice caps are melting, but why are polar bears more plentiful than ever? Cornwall Alliance takes a look at the evidence surrounding polar and polar bear endangerment.