A former U.S. Marine has spent time in Syria recently, trying to train the disorganized fighters to make them more effective in the battle against the Syrian regime. What he found, however, was in-fighting and over-inflated claims that complicate their chances of success.
When diplomats and leaders from 193 countries converge on New York City and the United Nations, things get a bit humbled. Of course, the traffic is bad. But people get tangled up over what the United Nations should be doing. The situation in the Middle East, including the American video Innocence of Muslims, was top of mind.
World leaders were gathering at the United Nations this week, including Barack Obama, to speak to an assemblage of world leaders and ambassadors during the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. If Obama's remarks are to have effect, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said the U.S. will have to again be seen as a force for good.
Turkey is hosting tens of thousands of refugees, fleeing the months-long civil war in Syria. But as the conflict wears on, tensions between the Syrian people and their Turkish hosts are rising.
As Syria's civil war drags on into its 19th month, and with not an end in sight, Syria's rebels are learning that in order to win, they might need to adjust the face they present the world. So they're turning to some public relations training, in an effort to adjust the picture they're presenting to the world.
Reports emerged from Syria over the weekend of a mass execution in the Damascus suburb of Daraya. If confirmed, it would be the worst atrocity in the year-long civil war. Meanwhile, an academic in the United States sees a grim, Lebanon-like future for Syria.
The United States is the largest producer of one of the most world's important crops: corn. We use it to feed people, livestock and, when it's turned into ethanol, cars. But as the country faces the worst drought in more than 50 years, some experts say the U.S. can no longer afford to turn that food into fuel.
Syria has a cache of weapons of mass destruction, certainly including chemical weapons, possibly including biological weapons, and on Monday President Barack Obama warned Syria that moving or using any of those weapons would bring swift U.S. military intervention.
Syria's civil war continues to wear on with both sides claiming huge gains in their effort to win control of the country. A former Syrian prime minister, Riad Hijab, however, went on TV and said the Syrian regime is collapsing.
There's more trouble unfolding this week in Egypt, as its newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, confronts violence on the Sinai Peninsula. The emerging crisis has become one of the biggest tests for Morsi's two-month-old presidency.