• Interviewed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Edward C. Luck, Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on "the responsibility to protect," attested that the Syrian rebels aspire to democracy, even though events have taken a sectarian turn that he attributes to the government of Bashar al-Assad. However, departing slightly from the Atlanticist dogma, he is not content with just blaming the Syrian government for not protecting its people, but stresses that this obligation is also incumbent upon the Free "Syrian" Army.

• The Tagesspiegel questions the independence of Karin Leukefeld, special correspondent in Syria for the Marxist daily Junge Welt. The journalist, who is very knowledgeable about the Middle East, is also a former Green Party collaborator. She publishes articles that go against the grain of the rest of the Western press and supports the al-Assad administration. It should be noted that, unable to criticize Ms. Leukefeld’s professionalism, the Tagesspiegel aims its attacks against her personality.

• Tomas Alcoverro in La Vanguardia alleges that the Baath Party gradually alienated itself from its constituency as the liberalization of the economy progressed. In this sense the constitutional referendum, which should cause the Baath Party to lose its political leadership, is not the institutional consequence of only one reality on the ground. However, contrary to what Alcoverro writes, who is in sync with the times, the opening up of the economy was not driven by a clannish hoarding of the wealth, but was the result of a slow process under the control of the Assad family. Indeed, the Syrian economy is not liberal, but mixed.

• Michael Jansen of the Irish Times observes that arming the rebels only increases the spiral of violence and leads the country towards civil war. Without pronouncing himself on the merits, he echos various views which leave no doubt as to the futility of this endeavor: the rebellion has no chance of winning on its own, and the more it will be artificially prolonged, the deeper the trauma it will cause to the society.

The Scotsman publishes an article by its correspondent in Damascus, attesting to the existence of a government militia that terrorizes citizens: the Shabiha. We would be curious to know more, but the "correspondent" of the newspaper happens to be anonymous.
Before the Atlanticist propaganda, the word Shabiha designated the members of a gang of smugglers from the port of Latakia.

Associated Press reported the assassination of several political figures by the rebellion. This fact is significant since the New York agency only started to mention such crimes about one month ago. This shift in information policy comes as the U.S. seeks to justify to public opinion the limitation of its support to the armed opposition.

• Mona Alami of U.S. Today claims that the extremists who are deployed in Syria are not members of al-Qaeda, but agitators at the service of the regime. Consequently, one should deduce that there is no link between the Free "Syrian" Army and Ayman al-Zawahiri, although he called for jihad against al-Assad. The article fails to explain how the government could have managed to recruit agents provocateurs among the Sunni extremist circles which consider the al-Assad’s as heretics and usurpers.

Agence France Presse comes out with a new theme: the loyalist army has supposedly surrounded the ancient city of Palmyra, blocking the rebels inside. The battles are likely to severely damage the archaeological site classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

Cartoons of the day

Mahammad Ali Rajabi stigmatizes the absurdity of the Arab League whose reactions are inadequate to solve the Syrian crisis. It features a petro-prince who tries to extinguish a fire by crushing it with a fire extinguisher.

Wang Xiaoying illustrates the double speak of the United States, always quick to wield the carrot and the stick. The Chinese Panda shyly tries to coax an Uncle Sam who wants to intimidate him.

You may complement this press review by looking up the daily bulletin of the Syrian Center of Documentation, Updated Syrian Crisis. You will find an accurate and intersected account of military events. This publication is available in English and Arabic.