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Entries in Denis McDonough (2)


Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 217 Die Amid Question, "Where's Bashar?"

Insurgents take over a post on the Turkish border on Thursday

See also Syria Opinion: "Insurgency, Not Diplomacy, Will End This Conflict"
Syria Feature: Alawites Flee to the Coast
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Regime is Shocked and Awed

2030 GMT: Syria. At least initially, the greatest threat that the Syrian crisis poses to the region has nothing to do with terrorism or chemical weapons or cross-border firefights, but has everything to do with the massive amounts of refugees flooding some countries, particularly Turkey and Lebanon, but also Iraq and Jordan. As fighting is heating up in Damascus, the amount of refugees in Lebanon has rapidly risen to an extraordinary number:

Between 8,500 and 30,000 Syrians have crossed into Lebanon in the last 48 hours, an agency spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, said at a news briefing in Geneva. The new flood adds to an exodus of more than 112,000 who have already registered as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, and many thousands more who have fled but not registered. United Nations relief agencies say three-quarters of them are women and children, often arriving in a desperate state with no more than the clothes they are wearing. Internally, as many as a million people have been displaced, according to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

1942 GMT: Syria. The Free Syrian Army has engaged the Assad military in heavy fighting in the city of Zabadani, northwest of Damascus (map), for the second day in a row today...

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The Latest from Iran (23 May): Nuclear Talks in Baghdad

The European Union's Catherine Ashton meets Iran's Saeed Jalili at today's nuclear talks in Baghdad

See also Iran Snap Analysis: How the Nuclear Talks Developed Today
See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Standing Against Homophobia, Defending Students, and More
Iran Analysis: A Guide to Watching Today's Nuclear Talks
The Latest from Iran (22 May): Tehran Plays Up Hope for Nuclear Talks

2050 GMT: Nuclear Watch. After a bilateral meeting between the EU's Catherine Ashton and Iran's Saeed Jalili of almost two hours, discussions have ended in Baghdad for today.

2010 GMT: Nuclear Prediction Comes True. EA this morning:

Iranian media features the line of politicians and clerics that any discussion must begin with a "Western" offer to ease sanctions. That is the requirement for the talks to move to consideration of limits and monitoring of Tehran's enrichment.

Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor this evening:

"The response from the Iranian side is: 'What you are asking for is ... not what we agreed to in Istanbul,'" an Iranian diplomat close to the talks [said[, referring to the demands of six world powers that include Iran capping uranium enrichment and scrapping a deeply buried facility.

Steps were meant to be “reciprocal, simultaneous, and ... balanced” in their value to each side, says the Iranian diplomat. Instead, Iran was told there would be “consideration” of easing sanctions “later,” after Iran made concessions.

EA this morning:

Behind the public pose, there has to be a significant assurance by the Americans and Europeans over sanctions, on the basis that Iran will not demand self-sufficiency in enriching uranium to 20%.

Peterson this evening:

"This is what we were afraid of," says the Iranian diplomat. "No one is going to accept these things this way. [Giving up] the 20 percent and shutting down Fordow [enrichment plant], in return for nothing? Nothing?"

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