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Syria'n President Bashar Assad


Once frozen out, Bashar Assad is back in

Over the past decade, few Arab leaders have been willing to go anywhere near Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Sure, he managed to hold on to a few friends – like Iran and Russia – but for the most part, the Syrian president, broadly dubbed “The Butcher” for waging a war on his own people, has been considered persona non grata by regional bigwigs.

But Assad is now being embraced by many who had once vowed to continue treating him as a pariah. In recent weeks, Assad enjoyed the royal treatment when he attended an Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the first time in over a decade, while a top Syrian official also rubbed shoulders with international diplomats at a World Health Organization summit in Geneva last week.

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Syria's President Bashar al-Assad chats with Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz


Assad welcomed back to Saudi

Bashar Assad was warmly welcomed in Saudi Arabia on Thursday when he landed in Jeddah for an Arab League summit. It’s the first time the Syrian dictator has been welcomed to the Gulf since he began waging war against his own people in 2011.
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Ukrainian offensive tests Russian defenses
Ukrainian offensive tests Russian defenses | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Ukrainian offensive tests Russian defenses

How is the Ukrainian counteroffensive going? Pro-democracy opposition parties swept the Thai elections. Will they be allowed to govern? Is Assad's invitation to COP28 a sign of Syria's return to the global stage? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

How is the Ukrainian counteroffensive going?

Well, it's just started. It's a little premature to ask me that question. Right now you're looking at probing attacks, artillery for the Ukrainians to try to assess where Russian defenses might be weakest so that when Zelensky gives the order for the full counteroffensive, it's starting, but not with masses of troops, that it's most likely to succeed. There is general optimism right now. The Russians are dug in along three lines of defense in southeast Ukraine. There's pretty significant optimism the Ukrainians will be able to break through one, at least maybe two of those lines of defense, which puts them in striking distance of artillery of the coast of the Sea of Azov, which means being able to threaten the land bridge to Crimea. That's a pretty big deal. It improves Ukraine's ability to negotiate if that happens after the counteroffensive is over.

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Print photocopies of Benjamin Ferencz, while he served as a prosecutor during the Nuremberg trials, on a table at his home in Delray Beach, Florida on June 1, 2022.

USA Today Network via Reuters Connect

Nuremberg now: the legacy of Ben Ferencz

At 27 years old, with no trial experience to speak of, Ben Ferencz entered the courtroom at Nuremberg in November of 1945. He was tasked with holding to account a regime that had slaughtered millions and tried to annihilate his own people. Acting as chief prosecutor, Ferencz secured convictions against 22 Nazis.

Ferencz, the last-surviving prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals, passed away last week at the age of 103. As a child, he and his family fled anti-semitism in Romania. After finishing law school at Harvard, he joined the US army, taking part in the Normandy landings and the Battle of the Bulge. He was then assigned to General Patton’s HQ as part of a special unit investigating Nazi atrocities, interviewing survivors and witnessing first-hand the horrors of the concentration camps. That experience would shape the rest of his life. He would remain a warrior, not on the battlefield but in the public arena as a professor of international law and tireless campaigner for justice for the victims of genocide.

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, after his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City, U.S April 3, 2023.

REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

What We’re Watching: Trump’s day in court, Turkey stuffing Sweden, Egypt buddying up

Trump’s arraignment

Donald Trump has a busy day ahead of him Tuesday. He returned to the Big Apple Monday night and, after getting some shut-eye in Trump Tower, the former president will head to the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday for his indictment. After his court appearance and a quick photo-op, he’ll jet back to Mar-a-Lago before an evening news conference.

Sound like an orchestrated plan? That’s because Trump’s team wants to capitalize on the publicity blitz around his arrest to bolster his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. There’s reason to believe this is working: Since the news of his indictment dropped, his campaign claims to have raised $7 million, and his polling numbers have soared above other Republican candidates.

On March 30, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought the results of his investigation before a Manhattan grand jury, which voted to indict the former president. Trump is expected to plead not guilty on Tuesday.

While the charges against him have not been revealed, they likely involve Trump's reimbursement to his former attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, who paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence ahead of the 2016 election. The Trump Organization then filed Cohen’s $420,000 reimbursement and bonus as a “legal expense.”

Falsifying business records is only a misdemeanor in New York, but if it is done with the intent to commit or cover up another crime – namely, violating campaign finance laws – then Trump could be looking at a Class E felony and a minimum of one year in prison.

Trump will be the first former US president to be indicted on criminal charges. But whether his indictment will push the GOP to jump ship in favor of another candidate, or what it means for the campaign if they don’t, remains unclear.

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Earthquakes expose political and humanitarian challenges in Turkey and Syria
Earthquakes expose political and humanitarian challenges in Turkey and Syria | GZERO World

Earthquakes expose political and humanitarian challenges in Turkey and Syria

In a recent episode of GZERO World, the International Rescue Committee's President and CEO, David Miliband, sheds light on the immense challenges of delivering aid in the aftermath of the deadly earthquakes that rocked Turkey and Syria. With the northwest of Syria controlled by armed opposition groups, aid delivery remains a hurdle that needs to be overcome urgently.

Miliband highlights the compounded crises in Syria, with inadequate medical care, cholera outbreaks, freezing temperatures, and ongoing border skirmishes threatening the survival of the population. He notes, "Hope is hard to find if you live there."

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Northwest Syria's aid dilemma: the aftermath of devastating earthquakes
Aid delivery remains a challenge in northwest Syria | GZERO World

Northwest Syria's aid dilemma: the aftermath of devastating earthquakes

The two devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey near the Syrian border on February 6 have exacerbated the already-difficult challenge of getting humanitarian aid into a region plagued by conflict and political instability. In an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, explains how aid delivery remains a challenge in northwest Syria, which is controlled by armed opposition group.

Although two new cross-border points opened after the earthquake, the IRC hasn't seen an increase in aid flows.“It's still very tough to get aid across the border," says Miliband. Humanitarian assistance for northwest Syria needs to travel across the border with Turkey because aid sent directly to Damascus stays with President Bashar al-Assad's government. Miliband notes that the situation was already dire in the region before the earthquakes, and the disaster has only compounded the crisis in Syria, with a lack of adequate medical care, cholera outbreaks, and freezing temperatures posing major risks to the population.

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Ian Explains: Earthquakes compound political turmoil in Turkey and Syria
Ian Explains: earthquakes compound political turmoil in Turkey and Syria | GZERO World

Ian Explains: Earthquakes compound political turmoil in Turkey and Syria

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on February 6th, followed by a 7.5 magnitude quake shortly after, causing widespread devastation and over 50,000 death in Turkey and Syria. The disaster is compounded by multiple crises in the region, including the Syrian civil war, the refugee crisis, and financial turmoil in both countries, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.
The earthquake also highlighted the complicated relationships between the countries' leaders, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the rest of the world.

Syria is still devastated by a over a decade of civil war, a conflict that’s killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions, and decimated northwest Syria, where the earthquakes struck. Western leaders wary of sending aid directly to Assad's government, which has a history of withholding assistance from citizens in rebel-controlled areas.

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