The Syrian military is still studying a Brahimi-proposed ceasefire

The Syrian government said its military is still studying a proposal for a ceasefire over the Eid al-Adha holiday beginning Friday. The statement has contradicted an earlier announcement by U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi that the Syrian government agreed to a ceasefire but would make a final decision on Thursday. Brahimi ...

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

The Syrian government said its military is still studying a proposal for a ceasefire over the Eid al-Adha holiday beginning Friday. The statement has contradicted an earlier announcement by U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi that the Syrian government agreed to a ceasefire but would make a final decision on Thursday. Brahimi also said that most opposition groups said they would also adhere to a temporary truce. Brahimi hopes that a lull in fighting will "allow a political process to develop." The statement came shortly after a massacre at a bakery in an opposition held neighborhood of Aleppo. The bakery was filled with customers and employees at the time of the bombing and at least 20 people were killed and 30 others injured. Syrian forces have continued bombing the strategic opposition controlled town of Maarat al-Numan on the highway connecting Aleppo to Damascus. Opposition fighters have been fighting in efforts to overtake the nearby military base Wadi al-Daif in hopes of establishing a "safe zone." Russia said on Wednesday that opposition forces have surface-to-air missiles, some of which they claim are United States-made Stingers. However, the reports have not been verified.

The Syrian government said its military is still studying a proposal for a ceasefire over the Eid al-Adha holiday beginning Friday. The statement has contradicted an earlier announcement by U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi that the Syrian government agreed to a ceasefire but would make a final decision on Thursday. Brahimi also said that most opposition groups said they would also adhere to a temporary truce. Brahimi hopes that a lull in fighting will "allow a political process to develop." The statement came shortly after a massacre at a bakery in an opposition held neighborhood of Aleppo. The bakery was filled with customers and employees at the time of the bombing and at least 20 people were killed and 30 others injured. Syrian forces have continued bombing the strategic opposition controlled town of Maarat al-Numan on the highway connecting Aleppo to Damascus. Opposition fighters have been fighting in efforts to overtake the nearby military base Wadi al-Daif in hopes of establishing a "safe zone." Russia said on Wednesday that opposition forces have surface-to-air missiles, some of which they claim are United States-made Stingers. However, the reports have not been verified.

Headlines  

  • After a historic visit from Qatar’s emir, Gaza and southern Israel have seen a surge in violence with Palestinian militant rocket fire into Israel, and Israeli airstrikes into Gaza that have killed four Palestinians.
  • Israeli media has reacted with outrage after a Haaretz report on a survey that has found a majority of Jewish Israelis would prefer an "apartheid" state exposing anti-Arab views.
  • Emails obtained by CNN show that the White House was alerted to a militant claim two hours after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
  • The United States has expressed support for Lebanon’s efforts to form a new coalition government and warned of the dangers of a "political vacuum." 

Arguments and Analysis

The Neocons’ Long Game (Matthew Duss, The American Prospect)

"Even though old school realists like Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft retain some influence, and more isolationist voices like Senator Rand Paul represent a rising challenge, the neoconservatives remain the most dominant. But even though Romney had worked diligently since 2009 to build ties to the GOP’s neoconservative wing, and relies heavily on a number of them as his key advisers, the foreign policy vision he articulated last night indicates that he understands that American voters (at least the ones he needs to eke out an Electoral College victory) just aren’t that into the expensive, world-transformative schemes that neocons are still busy dreaming up."

A Kurdish Wedge Between Iraq, Turkey (Joost Hiltermann, Foreign Affairs via RealClearWorld)

"The mood in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk – the three largest cities in Iraqi Kurdistan – is newly buoyant these days, and with good reason. Iraq‘s Kurds, who occupy the semiautonomous region run by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), have much to celebrate.

They enjoy relative peace and stability compared with the rest of the country, boast a moderately open society, and, over the past year, have received a whopping vote of confidence in their nascent economy from some of the world’s largest oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total and Gazprom, all of which have signed exploration contracts with the KRG. Not only is Iraqi Kurdistan undergoing an unprecedented building boom, but its people are now articulating a once-unthinkable notion: that the day they will break free from the rest of Iraq is nigh.

As the Kurds press forward, they are growing increasingly estranged from the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; personal relations between Maliki and the Kurdish regional president, MassoudBarzani, have reached an all-time low, keeping them from resolving critical disputes over power, territory, and resources. This past June, Barzani and other opponents of Maliki tried to oust the prime minister through a vote of no confidence, and although they failed to do so, their ambition remains very much alive."

–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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