Iran steps up weapons lifeline to Assad
Louis Charbonneau, Reuters – March 14, 2013
Iran has significantly stepped up military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent months, solidifying its position alongside Russia as the government’s lifeline in an increasingly sectarian civil war, Western diplomats said.
Opinion: Forget the Fatwa
Michael Eisenstadt and Mehdi Khalaji, The National Interest – March 14, 2013
At the upcoming P5+1 talks in Istanbul, Iran is likely to explain that the Supreme Leader’s fatwa banning nuclear weapons is an important confidence-building measure that the P5+1 have yet to adequately acknowledge. But there is more to consider than what will likely be conveyed during these expert-level talks.
NK-S Korean nuclear armament
Yonhap News Agency, Global Post – March 14, 2013
North Korea on Thursday blasted calls by some South Koreans for the country to develop independent nuclear deterrence, saying it is a move that will threaten the future of the Korean people. The attacks come as some conservative lawmakers, scholars and civic groups have demanded Seoul protect itself by building its own nuclear deterrence capability to counter North Korea’s WMD threat.
North Korea’s leader oversees artillery fire near disputed islands
David Chance, Reuters – March 14, 2013
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised a live artillery drill close to a disputed sea border with South Korea, state news agency KCNA reported on Thursday, in the latest sign of increased tensions between the two Koreas.
Opinion: Domestic Politics, Pyongyang-Style
Sheila Miyoshi Jager, The New York Times – March 13, 2013
North Korea’s fiery rhetoric seemed to foreign observers a desperate attempt to force the United States and South Korea to restart stalled talks on denuclearization, in the hope of extracting aid and concessions. But recent history suggests that it was motivated less by international politics than by domestic concerns: North Korea’s new hereditary leader, Kim Jong-un, may have been stoking fears of a foreign threat primarily to dampen political unrest at home.
North Korea refers to President Park as a “venomous swish of skirt”
Park Byong-su, The Hankyoreh – March 14, 2013
North Korea has issued its first criticism of Park Geun-hye since she was elected president of South Korea in Dec. 2012, though she was not named directly.