'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-il's death ends 17 years of leadership defined by oppression, bizarre stories of grandeur, and tensions with the West over its nuclear program.
Vaclav Havel, from dissident playwright to president, left a legacy of courage. Czech admirers are paying their respects today to Vaclav Havel in Prague
American decline is the conventional wisdom, as the United States suffers from high unemployment, crushing debt, and political gridlock. Here's the bigger picture: a competitive and innovative economy, reliable allies, a superior military, and foreign autocrats on the run.
The Arab League has threatened to turn to the UN Security Council to pressure Syria to accept its peace plan. The league has set a Wednesday deadline for Syria to act.
Two new human rights reports detail abuses by the Assad regime, but also show a growing use of violence by the opposition.
Iran thwarts economic sanctions through loopholes in international shipping regulations. 'Classification societies' give certifications (access to ports and international trade) to both Iranian and US vessels. These groups must end their conflicting role, which supports Iranian commerce.
Russia and China blocked the UN Security Council from acting on Syria in October. Now, Syria is showing signs of a civil war, and all roads point back to the security council. The council must demand a cease-fire, allow monitoring, and apply severe pressure on the regime.
The State Department official, Frederic Hof, told Congress on Wednesday that Assad's repression may allow him to hang on to power but only for a short time.
The death toll from the crackdown in Syria has topped 5,000, the top UN human rights official told the Security Council. With Russia blocking action, the US and others are voicing increasing frustration.