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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Marina Ottaway
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is confronted with a recent burst of strength by al-Qaida that is chipping away at the remains of Mideast stability, testing his hands-off approach to conflicts in Iraq and Syria at the same time he pushes to keep thousands of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Russia, which has provided military and political support key to the Syrian regime, acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that President Bashar Assad is losing control and the rebels may win the civil war that has dragged on for 21 months and claimed an estimated 40,000 lives.
The election of Egypt's first Islamist president poses a challenge for the Obama administration, which is grappling with the reality of embracing a leader whose worldview often has been at odds with Washington.
One year after the start of the revolution that ended Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule, Libya's government has no control over militia groups in a country awash with weapons. Human rights groups have accused some militias of torturing detainees, and many Libyans are frustrated with the lack of openness in the transitional government.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates tried to smooth the worst rift in years with Arab ally and oil producer Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, reassuring the Saudi king that the U.S. remains a steady friend despite support for pro-democracy revolutions in the Middle East.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates tried to smooth the worst rift in years with Arab ally and oil producer Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, reassuring the Saudi king that the United States remains a steady friend despite support for pro-democracy revolutions in the Middle East.
The 9-day-old uprising in Egypt took a dark turn Wednesday, as pro-government demonstrators riding horses and camels clashed with pro-democracy protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails in riots that broke out across the country.
Ripples of unrest spreading across the Arab world are prompting some governments there to brace for a tide of protests over unemployment and longtime autocratic rule.
The Obama administration on Wednesday voiced its support for the Egyptian people's rights to freedom of expression and assembly, as a second day of protests in Cairo saw police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators.
"There is no doubt that the U.S. policy helped create a vacuum in which the only effective forces were the radical forces," Ottaway said Tuesday.
But Marina Ottaway, a Middle East analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, warned: "There is a real danger that the international community is backing a [rebel group] that does not have much acceptance inside Syria."