Chatter: Syria's thick red line




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The thick red line. Both the US and the UK now say that Syria probably, maybe, we think has used chemical weapons, the act that would finally propel President Bashar al-Assad's government across the Western allies' famously broad, and famously gray, "red line."

There is "limited but growing" evidence that Assad's forces have used poison gas, British Prime Minister David Cameron said today, the day after the White House said intelligence agencies assess "with varying degrees of confidence" that chemical weapons had been deployed on a small scale, and three days after Israel's top military analyst said Syrian troops had repeatedly fired lethal nerve agents on rebels.

Everyone's remaining terribly cautious for the time being, aware that do to otherwise would oblige them to carry out their pledge to intervene. While they try to establish anything for certain, GlobalPost reviews how far everyone said was too far, and what might happen if Assad went there.


Boston suspect behind bars. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been transferred from hospital to a Massachusetts prison, where he will await his trial for terrorism. The only surviving suspect will receive the remainder of his medical treatment in detention, instead of in the same hospital where several victims of the April 15 marathon bombing were also being cared for.

While their wounds – and Tsarnaev's – are slowly healing, the nation's are not. If anything, the past 10 days have seen America's divisions reassert themselves with a vengeance, writes GlobalPost's Jean MacKenzie; and if this is the new normal, it's not pretty.

No more Korean cooperation. South Korea has announced it will evacuate all its remaining staff from the industrial complex it shares with North Korea, after Pyongyang rejected its offer of talks to discuss their fate.

Some 175 South Koreans are believed to be inside the Kaesong industrial park across the North Korean border, where they have been cut off, apparently without fresh food or supplies, since North Korea blocked access to the site earlier this month. Seoul had proposed working-level discussions with Pyongyang to resolve the stand-off, but North Korean officials declined to respond to the "ultimatum" and has threatened "grave measures" if the South does anything to aggravate the situation. Whether evacuating its citizens will constitute aggravation in the North's – generally paranoiac – eyes remains to be seen.

What's the difference between an Icelander and a goldfish? Not much, if you believe the political analysts predicting that voters will forget Iceland's banking collapse five years ago and re-elect the very parties blamed for the crisis. The country votes in a key parliamentary election on Saturday, and Icelanders are expected to flock back to two center-right parties whose policies of financial deregulation are accused of causing the nation's worst recession in decades.

Ahead of tomorrow's vote, GlobalPost investigates why the past five years have made Iceland so quick to forget.


Ain't no shame in wearing a skirt. That lesson has been amply proved by Kurdish activists, who decided to take action when police in northern Iran ordered a man found guilty in a domestic dispute to be paraded through the streets dressed in women's clothes. That act, which the authorities judged a public humiliation, was embraced by a group of rights-minded fellas calling themselves Kurd Men for Equality, who in recent days have posted more than 150 photos of themselves in drag to a specially created Facebook page.

"Being a woman is not a tool to humiliate or punish," reads their feminist-friendly strap line. You said it, brothers.