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Crisis In Syria

The body count surges in Syria. The U.S. closes its embassy. Russia and China have the West fuming over their U.N. veto. Where is this headed?

Committees in Syria, anti-Syrian regime protesters, burn tires and wave Syrian revolution flag during a demonstration in the suburb of Daraya, Damascus, Syria, on Saturday Feb. 4, 2012. (AP)

Committees in Syria, anti-Syrian regime protesters, burn tires and wave Syrian revolution flag during a demonstration in the suburb of Daraya, Damascus, Syria, on Saturday Feb. 4, 2012. (AP)

The sound and images out of Syria the last few days are terrible.  Government artillery shells on suburban neighborhoods and heavy machine gun fire in the streets.  Many dead.  American outrage at the UN over Chinese and Russian vetoes of heightened pressure is full volume.  “Travesty,” said Hillary Clinton.  The U.S. embassy in Damascus, now closed.  Civil war in Syria – here or coming, say many.  President Obama says no military intervention, but arms are moving.  Where does this go?

This hour, On Point:  Syrian nightmare.  Syrian powder keg.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Abigail Fielding-Smith, correspondent with the Financial Times based in Beirut.

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He runs a blog SyriaComment.com.

Edward Djerejian, founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. His career in the U.S. Foreign Service spanned the administrations of eight presidents from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton. He was formerly the U.S. ambassador to Israel. You can find his recent op-ed for CNN on the situation in Syria here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Foreign Policy “As world leaders huddle at the United Nations to debate whether to demand Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, the smart money is already betting that his time is short. The president of Syria is a “dead man walking,” according to one U.S. diplomat, a view shared by Israel’s military and predicted by a surveyed group of foreign policy experts. Reports of Assad’s death, however, appear greatly exaggerated. The Syrian president has survived almost a year of demonstrations and growing violence, and if not pushed by outside actors he may yet cling to power.”

Al Jazeera “The US has closed down its embassy in Syria and pulled all of its employees out of the country, amid reports that the Syrian military is intensifying its assault on the central city of Homs.”

CNN “The Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad approached the outset of the Arab awakening in Tunisia and Egypt in a state of politico-psychological denial.”

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