European Union officials are expected to use an EU-Russia summit in St. Petersburg (DeutscheWelle) today to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to put more pressure on the Syrian government to implement a UN-Arab League peace plan and cease a violent crackdown on opposition forces. Russia has so far been reluctant to abandon the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and has resisted imposing sanctions that could lead to international intervention in the country. However, in the wake of a massacre ten days ago that left more than a hundred people dead in the city of Houla, the West has renewed calls for a Syrian political transition that would see Assad's ouster.
"Many in Washington are frustrated, and are urging the United States do, well, something. But a key question lingers for Americans: Do they actually want to use their ownmilitary might to stop the killing in Syria? The answer is probably no, at least for now," writes Scott Clement for ForeignPolicy.com.
"Iran, Russia and China may be helping keep Assad in power, but so are whole communities of Syrians who see their own fates tied up with that of the regime. That's why after 15 months of open rebellion and sanctions, the regime remains cohesive, its core security units intact and committed to the bloody suppression of the rebellion," writes TIME's Tony Karon.
"But Russia's backing of Assad is about more than commerce and old alliances. For Moscow, a vital principle is at stake: to oppose the doctrine of international intervention in internal conflicts--whether in the Middle East or in Russia's own backyard," writes Newsweek's Owen Matthews.
EGYPT: Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Cairo (NYT) and other Egyptian cities for a second night on Sunday in response to a court verdict that acquitted six Mubarak-era police officials accused of carrying out the murder of hundreds of protesters during last year's popular uprising.
The Rwandan military has supported the rebel uprising in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo by providing up to three hundred fighters (Reuters), along with weapons and ammunition, Human Rights Watch said today. Rwandan officials have denied backing the Congo rebels.
NIGERIA: A suicide car bomber attacked a church (al-Jazeera) on the outskirts of the northern city of Bauchi on Sunday morning, killing at least fifteen people and wounding over thirty. Radical Islamist group Boko Haram was suspected of carrying out the attack.
Portugal Provides Funding to Three Banks
The Portuguese government announced today it will prop up three of the country's largest banks with up to $8.27 billion (WSJ), with the majority of the recapitalization money coming from the mechanism set up as part of the Portugal's 2011 EU-IMF bailout fund.
The eurozone is experiencing a triple crisis – a fiscal, banking, and growth crisis – that depends on political leaders to resolve, says former secretary of the U.S. Treasury and CFR Co-Chair Robert E. Rubin in a new video breaking analysis.
Venezuela Arrests Colombian Drug Lord
Venezuelan police yesterday arrested a leading Colombian drug trafficker, Diego Perez Henao, in the border state of Barinas. Perez, the leader of the Los Rastrojos drug cartel, will be turned over to the Colombian authorities (BBC).
Since 2006, the Mexican government has been in embroiled in a bloody drug war, which has failed to significantly curb trafficking, explains this CFR Backgrounder.
Obama Foreign Policy Focuses on Economic Issues
With voters and candidates focused on the economy, even President Barack Obama's foreign policy messagehas taken on an economic tinge, with less emphasis on issues like the crisis in Syria, notes the Washington Post.
Romney economic adviser Glenn Hubbard lays out a tax plan--reducing marginal tax rates with upper-income households bearing the brunt of covering the resulting cuts--that bears strong similarities to President Obama's plan (CNN).
On Face the Nation, Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod said that while May jobs numbers were "disappointing," the economy has seen twenty-seven months of private sector growth and 4.3 million jobs created during President Obama's administration (CBS).
Editor's Note: For more information on the presidential election and foreign policy, check out CFR's campaign blog, The Candidates and the World.