The U.S. options for intervention in Syria are seriously hampered by a buildup in sophisticated air defenses by Syria—aided by Russia. U.S. officials were aware of Russia’s involvement and tracked many of the upgraded systems during a period of rapid modernization after a 2007 Israeli airstrike on a suspected Syrian nuclear site. But the Americans rarely interfered, viewing Iran as the region’s larger threat and, under the Obama administration, initially pursuing improved ties with both Russia and Syria.
The longest serving of Russia’s post-Cold War foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov, has an endless capacity for defying America. He will be a key sticking point in resolving the Syrian civil war.
The two Christian leaders kidnapped in Syria are “in good health,” according to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who spoke late last week with the captive Syriac Bishop of the Orthodox Church from Aleppo, Yuhanna Ibrahim.
Police caught up with the owner of the collapsed Bangladesh factory that entombed hundreds, and arrested him yesterday trying to flee the country for India. Deaths in the collapse are expected to top 400, as a fire onsite is making it difficult to continue searching the rubble.
Tourists at Prague’s famed Charles Bridge felt a powerful explosion this morning in the city’s Old Town that has injured at least 40. Suspected cause is a natural gas explosion.
A U.S. government-funded report from Africa to be released this week estimates the number who died from Somalia’s 2011 famine is 260,000—and half of the victims were under age 5.
The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States, said a U.S. official, in a startling story describing “tens of millions” in cash delivered by the CIA to the office of President Hamid Karzai