Mon 8/5/13 Hr 3 Batchelor

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Guests: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents. Carl Zimmer, NYT. Jed Babbin, American Spectator.  

Monday  5 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: EU savants are coming to see Syria as we do:  

The Regional Struggle for Syria   " Two years after the outbreak of a largely peaceful uprising, Syria has fallen into a deep civil war that is increasingly drawing in regional actors. While the battle on the ground continues to be predominantly fought by Syrians, neighbouring powers have a growing stake in the conflict, providing important patronage to the warring parties as part of a broader regional struggle. This confrontation has drawn in Iran, Iraq, and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in support of the Assad regime, and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey behind the rebels. Other players, including Jordan, the Kurds, and Israel, are active in pursuit of narrower interests. Violent tensions are now spreading out beyond Syria's porous borders and the risk of a regional conflagration is growing.  While regional players have been active in Syria since the early months of the conflict in 2011, the intensity of their involvement has clearly escalated in recent months. In June, Hezbollah fighters played a key role in helping President Bashar al-Assad seize the strategic town of Qusair and, together with Iranian advisors, have now assumed a greater role in facilitating regime efforts. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey remain the key sponsors of the rebel movement, providing it with arms and finance. There is also a growing cohort of foreign militants -- from across the region and beyond (including from the Central Asian-Caucasus region, the AfPak theatre, and Europe) -- fighting on behalf of the rebels. According to one credible estimate, the number of these fighters now stands at five thousand. Recent calls by leading regional religious figures, including the influential Qatar-based cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, for a Sunni jihad in Syria will fuel this flow."

Monday  5 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Iran & Rohani.  Suleiman spoke first of folding Hezbollah into the Lebanese army, now of an attempt on his life.  Gen Dempsey travelling to Israel, perhaps partially to [prevent Israel from  thinking of acting against Iran] and also to discuss joint mil exercises.

     An Egyptian solder was killed and two others wounded Aug. 5 by gunmen who opened fire at an army checkpoint outside a military building in northern Sinai, AFP reported. The security situation in Sinai has been deteriorating since former president Hosni Mubarak was removed from power in 2011, and it has gotten worse since Mohammed Morsi was ousted from the presidency on July 3. Meanwhile, envoys from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar visited imprisoned leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party on Aug. 4 and 5, Ahram Online reported, as they continue efforts to broker a resolution to Egypt’s political turmoil.

Monday  5 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Carl Zimer, NYT, in re:  Monogamy’s Boost to Human Evolution

Monday  5 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Jed Babbin, American Spectator, in re: The American Spectator : Desperation in the Benghazi Coverup