A roadside bomb hit a U.S. Embassy office in Libya

The U.S. mission in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi was attacked by a homemade roadside bomb on Tuesday night. There were no injuries reported in the attack, and only the gate was damaged. No one has taken responsibility for the bombing, but some analysts suspect it was in retaliation for the reported killing of Abu ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. mission in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi was attacked by a homemade roadside bomb on Tuesday night. There were no injuries reported in the attack, and only the gate was damaged. No one has taken responsibility for the bombing, but some analysts suspect it was in retaliation for the reported killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, deemed the second-highest al Qaeda leader, by a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. According to CNN, Libi was reportedly establishing the militant Islamist group's presence in Libya. A Benghazi security official said the attack had been claimed by the Prisoner Omar Abdelrahman Group, but that has not been verified.

Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed a new prime minister amid continued violence across the country. According to the Syrian state news agency (SANA), Assad appointed former agricultural minister, Riyad Farid Hijab, an Assad loyalist and Baathist leader, as the county's new prime minister, and tasked him with forming a new administration. Russia has said it would support President Bashar al-Assad leaving power, but maintained that it can only be as part of a negotiated political settlement. However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the Yemen model, in which the 33-year dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, transitioned from power wouldn't work in Syria because the opposition doesn't have the political desire to negotiate, he claimed. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a broader international meeting including Turkey and Iran to work to assist in furthering the peace process. After expelling several foreign diplomats on Tuesday, the Syrian government agreed to allow increased humanitarian assistance to reach one million people. Meanwhile over 60 people were reported killed on Tuesday, including 26 government forces, in clashes across the country. The coastal province of Latakia has seen two days of the fiercest attacks since the beginning of the uprising last year, with tank, gunship, and helicopter fire. Additionally, a Lebanese man was killed and two were injured in clashes on the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

The U.S. mission in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi was attacked by a homemade roadside bomb on Tuesday night. There were no injuries reported in the attack, and only the gate was damaged. No one has taken responsibility for the bombing, but some analysts suspect it was in retaliation for the reported killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, deemed the second-highest al Qaeda leader, by a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. According to CNN, Libi was reportedly establishing the militant Islamist group’s presence in Libya. A Benghazi security official said the attack had been claimed by the Prisoner Omar Abdelrahman Group, but that has not been verified.

Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appointed a new prime minister amid continued violence across the country. According to the Syrian state news agency (SANA), Assad appointed former agricultural minister, Riyad Farid Hijab, an Assad loyalist and Baathist leader, as the county’s new prime minister, and tasked him with forming a new administration. Russia has said it would support President Bashar al-Assad leaving power, but maintained that it can only be as part of a negotiated political settlement. However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the Yemen model, in which the 33-year dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, transitioned from power wouldn’t work in Syria because the opposition doesn’t have the political desire to negotiate, he claimed. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a broader international meeting including Turkey and Iran to work to assist in furthering the peace process. After expelling several foreign diplomats on Tuesday, the Syrian government agreed to allow increased humanitarian assistance to reach one million people. Meanwhile over 60 people were reported killed on Tuesday, including 26 government forces, in clashes across the country. The coastal province of Latakia has seen two days of the fiercest attacks since the beginning of the uprising last year, with tank, gunship, and helicopter fire. Additionally, a Lebanese man was killed and two were injured in clashes on the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

Headlines  

  • Egypt’s ruling military council has set a 48-hour deadline for the formation of a 100-member body to draft a new constitution. Meanwhile protests continue against presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq and the verdicts in the Mubarak trial.
  • Iran’s parliament has re-elected Ali Larijani, an ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as speaker in the Majilis.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a battle in the Knesset against pro-settler lawmakers who have been trying to legalize thousands of West Bank homes.

Arguments & Analysis

Tunisia: Confronting Social and Economic Challenges‘ (International Crisis Group)

"Eighteen months after prompting the onset of the Arab spring, Tunisia still can boast of an ongoing, successful transition. The former regime, which stood for corruption and social injustice, is gone and democratic gains are palpable. Yet, formidable social and economic challenges threaten to halt progress. Among these challenges, three stand out: rising unemployment – particularly of university graduates – stark regional inequalities and corruption. Although the unity government led by the Islamist An-Nahda party is aware of these social and economic ills, it so far has been unable to address them rapidly enough and is failing to quell the impatience of workers and unemployed youth who expect to reap the fruits of their involvement in past struggles. To avoid destabilising social conflicts, the government needs to better respond to the escalating violence caused by worsening economic conditions; get a handle on the large informal economic sector, including smuggling; overcome administrative bottlenecks that hamper socio-economic improvements; and foster democratisation at the regional and local level."

The contradictory aims of USAID in Egypt‘ (Louisa Loveluck, OpenDemocracy)

"The muddled reality of US democracy-promotion efforts in Egypt reveals that little has changed in the wake of the January revolution. Prior to the fall of Mubarak, these had helped strengthen the very authoritarian structures that the funding was supposed to challenge. Today, the reality of American rhetoric about a desire to support groups that suffered under Mubarak is in fact undercutting the political legitimacy of these groups. Of course, the elephant in the room here is the continued US commitment to Egyptian military funding. This annual aid package of $1.3 billion continues to empower a junta that has consistently interfered with the work of liberal groups that democracy-promotion funding bodies are simultaneously supporting. Whilst the American government continues to pursue its strategic interests through such inconsistent funding strategies, it can only weaken its credibility as arbiter of democracy on the Egyptian stage."

In Syria, foreign intervention will only shed more blood’ (Seumas Milne, The Guardian)

"Right now, lower-level intervention is bleeding Syria in a war of attrition. Short of an internal coup, the only way out of a deepening sectarian and regional conflict is an internationally guaranteed negotiated settlement that allows Syrians the chance to determine their own future. That means the US and its allies giving the Annan plan a chance, as much as Iranian and Russian pressure on Damascus. The consequences of the alternative – full-scale military intervention – would be incalculable."

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey 

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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