Must-Reads From Around the World, May 28, 2012

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Louai Besharalouai / AFP / Getty Images

A poster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hangs from a wall at a hospital in Damascus on April 27, 2012.

Syrian Massacre – The U.N. Security Council on Sunday condemned Bashar al-Assad’s government for its use of tanks and artillery against civilians during Friday’s Houla massacre that left at least 108 villagers dead. Diplomatic efforts – most prominently, special envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan – have failed to resolve the Syrian crisis, James Traub says in Foreign Policy, while TIME’s Rania Abouzeid asks, “Will the Houla killings change anything, or will they be just another bloody footnote in a conflict that has killed an unknown number of people?”

Intervention Fatigue – France’s decision to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan well before the 2014 deadline highlights the so-called “intervention fatigue” among NATO’s European members, the Christian Science Monitor writes.  Meanwhile, at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, an ongoing evaluation of America’s two decades at war debates the successes and failures – and in the process, the future – of the country’s counterinsurgency strategy used in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York Times reports.

Frayed Alliance – Condemning Pakistan’s jailing of a doctor who helped track down Osama bin Laden, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta indicated that Islamabad’s handling of the situation had impacted efforts to bring diplomatic relations between Washington and Pakistan back on track, the Guardian reports. Charting the course of the countries’ fraught relationship, The Atlantic explores the question, “How have U.S.-Pakistan relations slipped so low?”

Prime Witness – Tony Blair becomes the first former British Prime Minister to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards today, kicking off a week of high-profile witnesses on the stand. The Guardian is live-blogging from the inquiry, with almost seven hours of questioning expected of the ex-Labour leader about his and his party’s relationship with the Murdoch media empire. The paper reports that Blair suggested it has become “essential and crucial” to be close to the media, and that a failure to do so can result in “harsh” consequences.

Big BrotherThe Independent criticizes “so-called targeted advertising” used by websites such as Facebook, which it describes as “not a benign giant kindly offering us a free service,” arguing that we are the “product” rather than the “consumers” of the social-networking giant. The paper partially blames our reluctance to pay for anything online, linking this culture to the “demise of well-informed, independent journalism” as it is consumed online for free.

Not Banking On It – With Greece’s possible exit from the euro zone drawing ever closer, and the other southern European euro-zone countries running out of cash, BBC’s business editor, Robert Peston, argues that the biggest “short-term risk to the stability” of the euro zone is if depositors in these countries withdraw their money “faster than it can be replaced by the European Central Bank.” He says the “slow and silent run on banks” has already begun, but is not yet a “lethal” danger.