Syria | Palestine/Israel | Mexico | Iran | USA

Aron Lund: Divided They Stand. An Overview of Syria’s Political Opposition Factions (PDF; Palmecentret)
Syrian Left Coalition: Damascus uprising calling upon soldiers to switch side (Anti-Imperialist Camp)
SNC rift over Syrian transitional government (al-Akhbar)
Syria: from the oppositions gathered in Sant’Egidio an appeal for a political solution (NCB)
Melkulangara Kumaran Bhadrakumar: Syria: Regime change and smart power. The rise and fall of Turkey’s Erdogan (Asia Times)
Nick Brauns: PKK-Fahnen auf Rathäusern (junge Welt)
Syriens Zukunft entscheidet sich in Berlin (Berliner Morgenpost)

Die politische Opposition in Syrien gilt auch nach den militärischen Erfolgen der Freien Syrischen Armee (FSA) weiter als zerstritten und unorganisiert. Der im Oktober 2011 als Dachorganisation diverser Oppositioneller gegründete Syrische Nationalrat (SNC) mit Sitz in Istanbul vertritt nach eigenen Angaben 60 Prozent der Regimegegner. Dazu gehören die verbotene Muslimbruderschaft sowie christliche und kurdische Minderheiten. Die meisten SNC-Mitglieder sind Exil-Syrer, wie der in Schweden lebende Vorsitzende Abdelbasit Seida, ein Kurde. Nach Einschätzung von Fachleuten wird aber die Rolle des SNC, der kürzlich von der internationalen Staatengruppe der “Freunde Syriens” anerkannt wurde, völlig überbewertet. Stärker in Syrien selbst verankert ist das Nationale Koordinationskomitee für den demokratischen Wandel (NCC)), dem ein Dutzend linke und mehrere kurdische Parteien angehören.

Pepe Escobar: Welcome to the Kurdish Spring (Asia Times)
Mona Sarkis: Autonomie in der Warteschleife (Telepolis)
James P. Rubin: The Real Reason to Intervene in Syria (Foreign Policy)

Cutting Iran’s link to the Mediterranean Sea is a strategic prize worth the risk.

Victor Kotsev: Israel stirs on the eve of Middle East war (Asia Times)

Some analysts have speculated that an American-led campaign in Syria might postpone an Israeli strike on Iran, not least because the Assad regime is a key element of Iran’s influence on the Levant.

Zvi Bar’el: CIA’s favorite Saudi prince is laying the groundwork for a post-Assad Syria / הנסיך הסעודי חביב הסי-איי-אי מכין את השטח לסוריה שאחרי אסד (Haaretz)
As’ad AbuKhalil: Nasrallah on Syria (al-Akhbar)

Zeev Sternhell: Ariel as a showcase for Israel / אריאל כחלון ראווה (Haaretz)

Ariel, the new university town, is the symbol of Israel and its true showcase. The settlement, which lies some 20 kilometers east of the Green Line, was from the start intended to drive a wedge into the heart of the West Bank so that it would be impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state there. … The college also demonstrates Israel’s real order of priorities. Its status was changed arrogantly, via a process that rode roughshod over academic rules and blatantly ignored the accepted criteria for Israeli universities.

Harriet Sherwood: Population of Jewish settlements in West Bank up 15,000 in a year (Guardian)

The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew by more than 15,000 in the past year to reach a total that exceeds 350,000 for the first time and has almost doubled in the past 12 years. Figures from Israel’s population registry show a 4.5% increase in the past 12 months. Most of the newcomers moved into settlements that many observers expect to be evacuated in any peace deal leading to a Palestinian state. … The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said on Thursday that violent attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property, mosques and farmland had increased by 150% over the past year.

Jo Tuckman: Mexican media scandal: secretive Televisa unit promoted PRI candidate / Una unidad secreta de Televisa promocionó al candidato del PRI (Guardian)

Owen Bennett-Jones: Terrorists? Us? (London Review of Books)

The story of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, also known as the Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK), is all about the way image management can enable a diehard enemy to become a cherished ally. The MEK is currently campaigning to be officially delisted in the US as a terrorist organisation. Once off the list it will be free to make use of its support on Capitol Hill in order to become America’s most favoured, and no doubt best funded, Iranian opposition group.

Nicholas Shaxson: Where the Money Lives (Vanity Fair)
Chitrangada Choudhury: NYPD ‘consistently violated basic rights’ during Occupy protests – study (Guardian)

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