The Middle East Channel

Two journalists were killed in the escalating bombardment of Homs

Two journalists were killed in the escalating bombardment of Homs

Two journalists were killed in the Syrian city of Homs, while an estimated three other reporters were seriously injured when a house being used as a media center was hit by a rocket. With the intense shelling of Homs, it is unknown if the journalists were intentionally targeted. The two killed were Marie Colvin, an American working with Britain’s Sunday Times, and award winning French photographer Remi Ochlik. Colvin had been reporting on the bombardment of the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, and on Tuesday said the shelling was "unrelenting." She continued that, "There is Free Syrian Army here. They’re very, very lightly armed. People are terrified they will leave." According to activists, over 40 people were killed on Tuesday, another of whom was Rami al-Sayed who had been broadcasting a live video stream from Homs that was being used by world media. Journalists have largely been prevented from entering Syria since March 2011, but the government has started issuing short-term visas for a small amount of journalists accompanied by government minders. Others have entered the country covertly, such as the late New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid, who is believed to have died from an asthma attack last week. The United Nations estimates 5,400 have died in Syria since the beginning of uprisings that started nearly a year ago, with reports from activists reaching 8,000. The escalation in violence in Homs has come as Western and Arab countries are planning to meet in Tunisia as the "Friends of Syria" to discuss options to end the conflict.


  • The IAEA announced that its visit to Iran failed as inspectors were blocked from a site suspected for weapons research, while Iran stated, "our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests."
  • Yemen’s election saw an estimated 60 percent voter turnout, but could have been as low as 20 percent in the south where the most violence was seen at polling sites.
  • The trial of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other high officials will come to an end today, with the politically contentious verdict not expected for a couple of weeks.
  • An Egyptian court found the voting system used to elect the parliament unconstitutional, raising concerns that the body slated to name a council to draft a new constitution will be paralyzed.

Arguments & Analysis

‘Pressure not war: A pragmatic and principled policy towards Syria’ (Marc Lynch, CNAS)

"The ongoing slaughter in Syria poses a major challenge to the United States, both morally and strategically. The call for intervention in such a tragedy is understandable. But there are no realistic military options available that could improve the situation, and those calling for military interven- tion must demonstrate not only that it is just, but that it can work. They have not." 

‘Israel’s risky option on Iran’ (Dalia Dassa Kaye, Los Angeles Times)

"Israel has never been integrated into the Mideast. But Israel has rarely faced total isolation. When Israel has confronted Arab nationalist adversaries in the past (Egypt and Iraq), it had the non-Arab "periphery" to turn to (Iran and Turkey). When Israel perceived a rising threat from Iran, it turned to peacemaking with its Arab neighbors. Israel has not faced a strategic situation in which it is isolated from Arabs and non-Arabs alike, while at the same time facing growing international isolation. To many in Israel, nothing could be worse than a future with a nuclear-armed Iran. But a future with a nuclear-armed Iran that has been attacked by Israel could actually be a lot worse."

‘The U.S.-Egypt NGO debacle’ (Jeff Aronson, The Arabist)

"In purely political terms, those elements in Egypt most interested in Washington’s helping hand have proved least able to win public support in the polling booths. Revolutions unleash all kinds of sentiments, good and bad. In Egypt, the serial errors of the SCAF, the lingering power of the ancien regime and growing public frustration with the uncertain fruits of revolution have soured the atmosphere and created an explosive context for efforts of the kind that Washington-supported NGO’s promote. What was once a relatively unimportant sideshow now risks moving to center stage, thanks to the mutually reinforcing missteps of all parties." 

‘Indian and Iran: Similar experiences, converging interests’ (Mohammed Ayoob, CNN)

"They [Iran and India] are cognizant of the fact that while occasional differences and even conflicts of interest may arise in their future relations, there are no major clashes of interests visible on the horizon. In contrast, there are enough common interests, both economic and strategic, that are likely to bind the two countries together and help them reach their shared goal of regional pre-eminence in the two contiguous but clearly demarcated regions of South Asia and the Persian Gulf. India’s refusal to go along with sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and Europe highlights New Delhi’s recognition of Iran’s importance to India over the long term." 

–Tom Kutsch & Mary Casey