Syria: Assad's future. Yesterday, Morning Report posted thoughts from Michael Totten and Lee Smith. They argued that "the best reason ... to get rid of Assad while we can is the grim prospect of what will happen if he wins" (Totten) and that "it’s time for the administration finally to show a killer instinct" by denying a fugitive regime even the comfort of a rump state (Smith). Today, Daniel P. Goldman, long known as "Spengler", writes at Gatestone citing a second piece from Lee Smith. Smith argues that
... a large part of strategy is prioritizing threats, and right now the major issue in the region is Iran: Anything that weakens the Iranians is a net gain. There is time enough in the Middle East to deal with other threats, which a post-Assad Syria may well become. The most pressing concern is a scenario in which Assad is camped out on the Mediterranean coast, still allied with Iran and serving as a link to Hezbollah. An Alawite statelet is an outcome that the Obama Administration should seek to prevent.
Goldman isn't so sure: "Why not deal with Iran the way we need to deal with Iran (neutralize its WMD capacity with air strikes, commando operations, cyberwar, or whatever it takes), and deal with Syria as Syria? ..." Read the rest at the link.
Iraq: Officials warned of kidnapping attempts. Al-Monitor: 'Representatives from al-Sahwa (“the Awakening”) have called on security officials in the province of Diyala to provide protection to the province’s judges and lawyers, and to strengthen security procedures in government prisons and detention centers. The request came in light of intelligence that was received regarding al-Qaeda’s intention to attack or kidnap judiciary personnel to bargain for the release of detained al-Qaeda leaders. ...' Translated from al-Hayat.
Europe / Terrorism: EU won't blacklist Hezbollah. Michael Totten: 'After a suicide-bomber killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the Israelis are (again) asking the European Union to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Europe (again) refuses to do so. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the foreign minister of Cyprus just 30 minutes off Lebanon’s coast, says Europe would consider adding Hezbollah to the list of banned terrorist organization “if there were tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terror.” ...'