Russian Peace Plan: The Fallout Begins

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Today’s Top Stories

1. President Obama took his case for Syrian intervention to the public in a national address (video/transcript).

See also the Wall St. Journal, which rounded up the highlights of the president’s six network interviews.

Obama speech

2. Fallout from the Russian initiative: According to Israeli media reports, when Moscow told Bashar Assad to give up its chemical weapons, the Russians sweetened the deal with a promise to bolster conventional arms sales. Syrian opposition figures bitterly opposed the compromise, some going so far as to call it a dirty deal benefiting only Israel, not them. Then there’s this from the Washington Times:

President Bashar Assad likely does not have complete control over Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons — one of the world’s largest — which is dispersed across the country and believed to have been shared with its allies, including the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, analysts say.

Vladimir Putin enjoys throwing his weigh around:

Russia to offer Iran S-300 missiles, new nuclear reactor

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3. Why are Palestinian officials talking so much about the peace talks, even though they and the Israelis agreed to zip their lips? Khaled Abu Toameh explains that the PA’s loose lip game plan aims to A) draw the US into pressuring Israel, B) reassure Palestinians that the PA won’t make unseemly concessions, and C) lay the groundwork for sinking the talks and blaming Israel.

4. How to Libel Israel: A Case Study: Thanks to the Internet, a story falsely libeling Israel will remain in perpetuity to be recycled by anti-Israel activists who either ignore or have not seen the correction.


The Syrian Situation

For the first time since the chemical weapons crisis, the Syrian air force attacked rebel areas around Damascus. Rebels told Reuters this is a sign that Assad no longer feels international pressure.

I’m relieved to be reminded that real Syrian moderates aren’t extinct. “Amin Muhammed” wants to launch a moderate, pro-Western political party that would normalize relations with Israel. He shared his vision with the Jerusalem Post.

A tense Lebanese funeral laid bare the friction between Hezbollah and Palestinian refugees.

For more commentary/analysis, on the latest Syrian developments, see Herb Keinon, Amos Harel, Yaakov Lappin, Eyal Zisser, Vivian Bercovici, Con Coughlin, and Jeffrey Goldberg. See also Jimmy Carter and Dennis Ross.

On the next page:

  • Israel boycotter named Olympic chief.
  • Suicide bomber blows up Egyptian military’s Sinai headquarters.
  • Pundits mark the Oslo Accords’ 20th anniversary.

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