News of the world: Syria’s Assad promises reforms, Bahrain crackdown intensifies, the new cold war

Laura Rozen
April 17, 2011

• Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promises sweeping reforms, including the lifting of emergency rule, but protests continue. (Los Angeles Times)

• Video shows security forces firing on protesters in Lattakia, Syria, on Sunday. (YouTube)

• Saudi Arabia threatens to withdraw its diplomats from Iran unless Tehran provides adequate security for them. (Al-Arabiya)

• The new Saudi-Iran Cold War. (Wall Street Journal)

• Why both Saudi Arabia and Iran stand to lose from the rise of Arab democracy. (Nir Rosen/Jadaliyaa)

• Saudi oil minister says the global market for crude oil is oversupplied, citing reduced Japanese demand after its earthquake and tsunami. (Bloomberg)

• The U.S. and allies are looking for a country to take Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. (New York Times)

• President Barack Obama faces pressure to commit more U.S. military resources to the NATO Libya mission amid a protracted stalemate. (Washington Post)

• Pressure on Washington to stay in the lead on Libya is another instance of the United States being asked to subsidize European defense budgets. (Andrew Exum/AbuMuqawama)

• Iran accuses Germany's Siemens of helping launch Stuxnet cyber-attack. (Guardian)

• Iran announces new "Halal" Internet. (

• Iran intelligence minister resigns, then is reinstated, amid continued power divisions within the country's regime. (Associated Press)

• Bahrain arrests defense lawyer, 15 doctors. (Human Rights Watch/Al-Ahram)

• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint meeting -- not a joint session -- of Congress in May. (JTA)

• Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni says she's not interested in an interim peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. (Financial Times)

• U.S. Ambassador to Malta Douglas Kmiec, a former dean of Catholic University Law School and key Catholic backer of Obama, submits his resignation after a State Department Inspector General report described him as spending too much time on his faith-based writings. (CNN)

• Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's good ties with her British counterpart scrutinized. (Times of India)

• David Ignatius weighs in authoritatively on Obama's next national security team. (Washington Post)

(Syrian women participate in a pro-democracy protest in the Syrian port city of Banias on Saturday April 16, 2011: Reuters photo.)