In an interview with Russia Today television, scheduled to air on Friday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he would not leave Syria. He stated that he didn't believe the West would intervene in the Syrian conflict, but asserted if it did, the price would be "more than the whole world can afford." It is unclear when the interview took place. British Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to rethink options on ending the conflict in Syria, looking to put abandoned options back on the table. A British arms embargo on Syria is set to expire on December 1. Turkish media has reported that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey is planning to request Patriot missiles from NATO to station on its increasingly precarious border with Syria. However, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they have made no formal requests. According to Article 4 of the NATO charter, member states should consult with the group if they feel their security is threatened. Syrian opposition representatives have continued talks in Doha, Qatar, which have been bogged down with arguments. The Syrian National Council's Riad Seif has proposed the first initiative to create a transitional government but the group has yet to come to a consensus. Meanwhile, Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the organization "can't cope" with the escalating crisis in Syria. The ICRC is the only international agency currently with a presence inside Syria, and Maurer said there are a lot of "blank spots" where it can't get access to people in need.
Arguments and Analysis
Will Erdogan do nothing to save the lives of Kurdish hunger strikers? (Binnaz Saktanber, The Guardian)
"If you knew that more than 700 of your citizens might die soon, what would you do to stop it? That is the question that the Turkish government and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, faced with the massive hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners, now in its 58th day, need to answer.
But the answer so far seems to be "nothing". Very few in the west seem to be aware of the issue, with international media focused more on geopolitical concerns and the ongoing Syrian crisis. Yet they have a question of their own to answer: can Turkey still be held up as a role model for the Arab spring movement as it becomes more and more apparent that the Turkish government is apathetic towards the democratic rights and demands of its almost 20 million-strong Kurdish minority?
The hunger strikes started on 12 September with 65 prisoners. The official number has since reached 716, with claims from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party (BDP) that elected officials from the party might join the ranks if their demands continue to be ignored."
Flexibility' on US foreign policy starts now (The National)
"But there can be no doubt that Mr Obama has also disappointed some observers, especially in this region. His 2009 speech in Cairo - in which he began with the words "Asalaam Alaikum" - raised hopes about a reset of US policy that has often been clumsy, and sometimes manipulative, in the Middle East and beyond. It is possible that expectations of Mr Obama were unreasonably high. Nevertheless, his inactivity on some issues, and particularly his failure to challenge Israel over settlements and continued human rights abuses, has been disappointing.
An American president's second term is poised between remarkable latitude of action, and the so-called lame duck period of irrelevance. In March, Mr Obama was caught in a revealing open-mic moment, when he told Russia's then-president Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" after the election. That will be true not just in relation to Russia, but to the rest of the world as well. We will see what Mr Obama chooses to do with that power."
--By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey
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