"Syria is effectively divided, and none of the military forces in the field appear capable of reuniting it under their control. Negotiated settlements to end wars tend to reflect the balance of forces in play; the idea of Assad stepping aside for a consensus-based national-unity government is quite at odds with the current balance of geopolitical and military forces. For that reason, it is unlikely to be achieved at Geneva II," writes Joshua Landis for al-Jazeera.
"The role of foreign Islamist extremists in the Syrian opposition has tended to obscure the role of foreigners on the regime side. Yet there are likely as many or more foreigners fighting with Assad than against him. This issue should be addressed in the international Geneva II negotiations currently under way, especially if the regime attempts to focus the discussions on "foreign terrorists" supposedly conspiring with Western and regional governments against Syria," writes Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Daily News Brief Sponsored By:
Thai Court Defers Ruling on February Election
Thailand's Constitutional Court deferred a ruling on whether a general election scheduled on February 2 can be postponed. The Election Commission says the country, which has seen months of antigovernment protests, was too volatile to hold a general election (Reuters).
CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick explains in this blog post how Thailand's royalty is becoming more openly involved in politics.
Opposition leaders in Ukraine urged protestors late Wednesday to refrain from violence for twenty-four hours until their ultimatum to President Viktor Yanukovich—to call for early elections and scrap anti-protest laws or face street rage—expires. No signs of compromise emerged on Thursday (AP).