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Next on Syrian hit list: Deraa, cradle of the uprising

After overrunning Homs and launching an assault on Idlib, Syrian government troops are staging an offensive on Deraa, where the uprising began a year ago.

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Meanwhile, the US scoffed at the offer of elections. “Parliamentary elections for a rubber-stamp parliament in the middle of the kind of violence that we’re seeing across the country? It’s ridiculous,” State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said, according to Reuters.

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  • Syria

    Graphic Syria
    (Rich Clabaugh/Staff)

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The Guardian reports that former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, now special envoy to Syria for the UN and the Arab League, is expecting a response from Assad today on several proposals for ending the violence and providing humanitarian aid that Mr. Annan made while he was in Damascus earlier this week.

In a piece for Foreign Policy published last week, Aaron David Miller, a former adviser to several US secretaries of state, writes that the crisis highlights “the fecklessness and powerlessness” of the US and international community as they repeatedly fail to affect the circumstances on the ground. But he also says that the US is doing what it can, and shouldn't add to the tragedy by trying to intervene in what would likely be a protracted conflict.

As the George W. Bush administration has instructed us, getting into these regional messes is always a lot harder than getting out. And as painful as it is to watch, the wrenching reality of a brutal dictator killing his own people isn't a compelling enough reason to justify a unilateral, open-ended American military intervention to topple him.

We should stop beating ourselves up for once. Given the complexity of the problem, other pressing priorities, our interests, and the potential costs of an intervention, the administration is doing what it can. Chances are the longer the killing goes on, the more likely we be will dragged into doing more. But the notion that we should intercede quickly with some dramatic,  ill-advised, poorly thought through idea of kill zones or safe havens without thinking through the consequences of what protecting those areas would entail is a prescription for disaster.

Instead, he implies that "key Arab states – equipped with the most advanced American fighter aircraft and so concerned about their fellow Arabs in Syria" could and should act more boldly.

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