FROM Anthony Shadid
US Closes Embassy in Syria after Bloody Weekend The US State Department announced today that the United States has "suspended operations of our embassy in Damascus" and all American personnel have left the country because of "serious concerns that our embassy is not protected from armed attack." The news came as opposition groups reported that President Bashar al-Assad bombarded the city of Homs, a center of armed opposition, again on Monday, killing 50 people. It has also been reported that 200 people were killed over the weekend. Anthony Shadid, Beirut Bureau Chief for the New York Times , has an update.
Syria, Libya and the Future of NATO Syria is conducting bloody repression of its own people without interference. Some 8500 Syrians have fled across the border into Turkey and thousands more may be making their way on trucks, tractors and on foot, without access to shelter or food. In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi is hanging on longer than expected. Is NATO prepared to protect civilians for humanitarian reasons? What's the future of the Atlantic Alliance? Segment image: Syrian refugees gather on June 15, 2011 during Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's visit to the Turkish Red Crescent camp, two kilometers from the Syrian border. Photo: Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images
Syria, Libya and the Future of NATO The government of Syria is using tanks and other weapons to quash dissent by killing its own people. The international community, so far, is standing by. The UN Security Council has not denounced the Syrian regime, and NATO is showing no appetite for intervention. NATO is having a hard time already in Libya , and the US is impatient about being so involved in an action pushed originally by Britain and France. What's happening to the idea of "liberal intervention" on humanitarian grounds? Are US and European interests no longer in sync? What's next for NATO?
Bloody Crackdown Continues in Syria Yesterday, tanks and soldiers stormed the Syrian city of Dara'a and killed at least 25 people in efforts to stop a five-week long uprising with a death toll that now totals nearly 400. Western countries, including the US, are urging their citizens to leave the country and threatening sanctions. Anthony Shadid is Beirut Bureau Chief for the New York Time .
The Pressure Mounts on Mubarak and Obama The crowds in Egypt today were bigger than ever, a "remarkable tapestry," a crowd "far bigger and more tumultuous than any in the previous week," according to the New York Times, "from young women with babies to old men with canes." The Army paved the way for the so-called "march of millions" by saying it would not fire on demonstrators and calling their demands "legitimate." The new vice president offered negotiations but, speaking for the protesters, Mohamed ElBaradai said they won't talk until President Hosni Mubarak leaves the country. What else do they want? What's the fallout in other Middle Eastern countries? And, what is the Obama Administration planning to do now?
Iraqi Shoe-thrower Gets Three Years The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at former President George Bush told a court today, "I am innocent." Muntadar al-Zaidi, said, "What I did was a natural response to the occupation." The judge ruled he was guilty of assaulting a foreign leader and sentenced him to three years in prison. Anthony Shadid is Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post and author of Night Draws Near : Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War.
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