Heavy New Pressure on Syria's Bashar al-Assad
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Heavy New Pressure on Syria's Bashar al-Assad

Army defectors attacked a military intelligence building in Syria today as pressure builds on dictator Bashar al-Assad to stop killing his own people. Would outright civil war serve his interests or those of a divided opposition? Also, US Marines head to Australia to balance China's power, and the Republican race for the presidential nomination's become a roller coaster with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich the latest to be on a rise. We talk with one of his former aides.

Banner image; Delegates assemble during a meeting comprising of Arab league member states and Turkey to discuss a response to the crackdown in Syria, in Rabat on November 16, 2011. Photo by Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Making News

US Marines Head to Australia to Balance China's Power ()

In Australia today, President Obama announced that 250 US Marines will be stationed in that country, with plans to increase their number to 2500. The President said the rotations for joint training and exercises will "bring our militaries even closer and make them even more effective." Mark Thompson is Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time Magazine and a contributor to its Battleland blog.

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Main Topic

Violence, Protest and Regional Pressure: What's Next for Syria? ()

Syrian army defectors reportedly attacked notorious Air Force intelligence sites near Damascus today, although reports are sketchy and hard to confirm. The Arab League is meeting in Morocco to uphold its suspension of Syria and find other ways to isolate the regime. Turkey, a non-Arab neighbor, is there. We update those stories and talk to a Western reporter who managed to get inside the country and produce the Frontline documentary, Syria Undercover. We also hear from an expatriate Syrian who's part of a peaceful opposition group as pressures build on a dictator who's killing his own people.

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Reporter's Notebook

The Ups-and-Downs of Gingrich and the GOP Presidential Field ()

While Mitt Romney stays at the top of the pack, a series of Republican presidential contenders has risen and fallen as polls show that likely voters are politically fickle. The latest to move up is Newt Gingrich, with a possible backlash as what political pros call his "negatives" rise to the surface. A poll by Bloomberg News in Iowa shows Herman Cain and Ron Paul leading Romney, with Gingrich coming on strong. The range of support goes from 17 percent for him to 20 percent for Cain. Rich Galen, who was communications strategist for then-House Speaker Gingrich, is still a GOP strategist, and blogs at Mullings.com.

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