• Peter Harling of the International Crisis Group states in La Croix that the monitors’ mandate was to force the regime to exercise restraint, so that the peaceful protests could have free rein and facilitate a smooth transition. From this point of view, the mission has failed. Yet it would be a mistake to withdraw it because the international community has no other means of action, with the war promising to inflame the region.

• The U.S. ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, affirmed that the fuel rationing is a government ploy and not a consequence of the economic sanctions, reports the Washington Times.

• Parroting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack, a high-ranking officer, under the cover of anonymity, in the Jerusalem Post predicts a possible rapid victory of the Syrian opposition. But beyond the apparent endorsement of his minister’s views, he voiced concern over the deployment of Al Qaeda jihadists in Syria, which comes down to taking a stand against the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad.

L’Orient-Le Jour reports on the appeal addressed by the Vice President of the Socialist International, the Lebanese Walid Jumblatt, to the Druze community in Syria for a radical change of regime. What the newspaper omits to say is that, while Mr. Jumblatt has long exerted a major influence on the Lebanese Druze, he never held sway over the Syrian Druze that have always backed the leadership of Prince Talal Arslan.

• Furthermore, L’Orient-Le Jour confirms that the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, equipped with numerous combat planes and helicopter, would soon make port in Tartous. It will be joined by four other vessels. It will not go unnoticed that such vessels are not only there to escort but could well be delivering equipment.

• Finally, in The National (UAE), Phil Sands ponders why Kurdish involvement in the protests is so insignificant. He argues that the main explanation is the naturalization of 300 000 Kurds by the Assad administration at the outset of the events. Curiously, the reporter glosses over the Kurds’ historical preference for Arab nationalists over Islamists, nor does he mention Erdogan’s project of creating a large Turkish-Kurdish federation after the dismemberment of Iraq and Syria.

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