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Protesters in Libya have help from the US and other countries, but those in Syria are on their own against another regime willing to kill its own people. What does that reveal about diplomatic realities in the Middle East? Does the Obama Administration have a consistent policy? Also, President Obama releases his birth certificate and shakes up his National Security team. On Reporter's Notebook, Hamas and Fatah have agreed to joint government of the Palestinian Territories. Israel says that’s the end of the prospects for peace talks.

Banner image: Syrians protest in the city of Banias holding up a sign that reads in Arabic, "The first results in lifting the state of emergency is over 100 deaths" on April 26, 2011, as they took to the streets calling for the end to President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Photo: -/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Obama Releases Birth Certificate, Shakes up National Security Team 7 MIN, 44 SEC

President Obama released his so-called "long form" birth certificate today, saying he made the decision two weeks ago after controversy about where he was born dominated news about the Republican budget plan and his own speech on the national debt.  Tomorrow, he reportedly plans a major shakeup in his national security team. CIA Director Leon Panetta will replace Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. General David Petraeus will take over the CIA. Michael Hirsh is chief correspondent for the National Journal.

Michael Hirsh, Politico Magazine (@michaelphirsh)

Capital Offense

Michael Hirsh

Main Topic The 'Arab Spring' Runs into Heavy Weather 35 MIN, 26 SEC

Syria's deadly crackdown on political protesters has provoked outrage at the UN, the European Union and from some Arab countries as well. International sanctions are not expected to make any difference to the regime of Bashar Assad, who's already killed some 400 of his own people. But, even if he remains in charge, instability in Syria could have consequences for the balance of power in the Middle East and for alliances with western countries. We update the unrest and the implications for Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Does President Obama have a coherent strategy, or is he playing it by ear?

Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)
Ammar Abdulhamid, Tharwa Foundation
Eyal Zisser, Tel Aviv University
Joshua Landis, University of Oklahoma (@joshua_landis)
Ryan Lizza, New Yorker magazine / Georgetown University (@RyanLizza)

Reporter's Notebook Palestinian Factions Reach Agreement 7 MIN, 22 SEC

Two Palestinian factions have stunned the Middle East with an agreement to get together. Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and Hamas, which broke away and won elections in Gaza, will form an interim government, followed by elections in both Palestinian Territories. The agreement announced today reportedly was reached after a series of secret meetings in Egypt, and is expected to be formally signed in Cairo. Dan Ephron is Jerusalem Bureau chief for the Newsweek.

Dan Ephron, Newsweek/Daily Beast

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