Stakes in Syria – As the Associated Press covers President Obama’s warning — for the first time — of possible American military action in Syria, the New York Times profiles rebels fighting around Aleppo, “where the war for Syria’s future has hardened all involved.” Meanwhile U.S.-based, Middle East-focused website Al-Monitor examines Syrian families in the capital Damascus being divided by their support for either the regime or armed opposition.
Slow Progress – Exiled Burmese magazine The Irrawaddy reacts to Monday’s announcement that journalists in Burma no longer have to submit articles to the country’s censorship board before going to print. “However, the journals are still required to write in accordance with 16 guidelines, under which editors and reporters must follow journalistic ethics and ensure that their stories … don’t harm national security or ‘the dignity of the state,'” it warned.
Suspicious Minds – Chinese state-run People’s Daily asks how long America will continue arms sales to Taiwan, noting that in their “August 17 Communique” of 1982 — “the political foundation for China-U.S. relations” — Washington pledged not “to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan.” Meanwhile, an op-ed by China’s Xinhua news agency criticizes the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that began Monday as “detrimental to regional stability.”
Impeachment Invalid – Reuters reports on the ongoing power struggle between Romania’s President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta. The country’s Constitutional Court is expected to invalidate a referendum held last month, in which 88% of of voters favored the impeachment of President Basescu, resulting in his suspension by Parliament, “a decision backed by Ponta’s leftist Social Liberal Union (USL).” Nevertheless, only 46% of registered voters cast their ballots, below the required 50% threshold, which has called into question the validity of the referendum.
Embassy Entry – The Daily Telegraph writes that Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has warned, “It would be a suicide for the United Kingdom to enter the Ecuadorean embassy.” In an interview with ECTV public television, he continued: “It will be a precedent that would allow later on for the diplomatic premises of [the U.K.] in other territories to be violated in every corner of the planet.”A British Foreign Office spokesperson responded: “We are considering a range of issues and diplomatic options to solve the situation and the [president’s] comments don’t change that.”
Make Peace Not War? – Reuters examines whether Afghanistan’s hopes for peace rest on high-ranking Taliban member Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, currently held captive in Pakistan. Mullah Baradar was captured in Karachi in 2010, but Pakistan has thus far refused to hand him over. “Releasing Mullah Baradar would encourage other Taliban leaders to embrace reconciliation,” Ismail Qasemyar, an adviser to Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, told Reuters. “It would be a huge symbolic step.”