Top News: After announcing on Saturday that he would wait on congressional approval before authorizing military strikes against Syria, President Obama and his administration have begun a forceful push asking Congress to act quickly. The strikes have limited bipartisan support, including from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a consistent advocate for an increased U.S. role in the Syrian civil war, and from Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who criticized Obama for waiting on Congress and "abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief." Legally, the president does not need congressional approval for the strikes.
Syrian rebels have denounced the postponement of what seemed to be imminent strikes. "The Syrian people feel more alone now than ever," Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, told Foreign Policy on Saturday. "Even after the Assad regime used chemical weapons that the entire planet opposes, the U.S. has yet to react." Syrian government news sources loyal to the Assad regime called Obama's deferral to Congress a "historic American retreat."
The New York Times reports that the United States is also pursuing Iranian support for new negotiations between Syrian rebels and the regime, and that the strikes are seen by some in the administration as a necessary demonstration of resolve. Stock markets around the world rebounded on Tuesday as the threat of an immediate U.S. attack on Syria subsided.
Israel: After Russian news sources reported two "ballistic objects" were fired from the central Mediterranean and landed somewhere in the eastern reaches of the sea, Israel announced this morning it had conducted a missile test. Details are still forthcoming.
- The government of Brazil summoned the U.S. ambassador for a formal rebuke after a Brazilian news channel reported that the NSA had spied on Brazilian President Dilma Roussef and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
- Mexican officials are investigating the deaths of two bus drivers who may have been murdered as a reprisal for the sexual abuse of female passengers.
- A new trial for former Argentinian President Carlos Menem began yesterday; Menem, convicted of arms smuggling in June, is accused of tax evasion.
- As former basketball star Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea, possibly to encourage the release of a U.S. citizen, South Korea approved $8.4 million in aid to its northern neighbor.
- Japan announced plans to construct an ‘ice wall' to stop the flow of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear reactor.
- The Chinese government has sacked Jiang Jiemen, an official responsible for overseeing state-owned companies; the firing is believed to be part of the country's recent public crackdown on corruption.
- The U.N. refugee agency announced that the number of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war has now surpassed 2 million people.
- An Egyptian court has ordered four news channels that showed footage of pro-Islamist rallies, including an Al Jazeera affiliate, to stop broadcasting.
- The Iraqi government has said it will investigate the killing of residents of Camp Ashraf, which houses members of exiled Iranian dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq; residents say the camp came under attack from the Iraqi military.
- The Kenyan government is considering withdrawing from the Rome Statute, which facilitates its participation in the International Criminal Court; Kenya's president and deputy president are facing ICC charges.
- 80,000 gold miners in South Africa are preparing to go on strike for higher wages.
- The daughter of Gaddafi regime spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi was kidnapped in Tripoli by armed gunmen after visiting her father in prison.
- Russia issued a travel advisory for Russian citizens wanted by the United States, warning them not to visit countries with which the United States has an extradition treaty.
- A Greek anarchist group, the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire, has claimed responsibility for a letter bomb attack against a Greek prosecutor that exploded without injuring anyone.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is mounting a defense of her government's austerity measures in her campaign for re-election, citing the overwhelming political support her policies have received.
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