What's the Latest Development?
After more than 500,000 people rallied in the Syrian city of Hama on Friday following Muslim prayers during which a cleric told the congregation "the regime must go," the government has responded by firing on its citizens. "Death tolls provided by the observatory and other human rights groups showed at least 142 people were killed across Syria, most of them falling in Hama." Germany and France have threatened new sanctions against the Syrian government. Germany has also called for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss Syria.
What's the Big Idea?
Successfully toppling governments in Egypt and Tunisia, the force of popular uprisings across the Arab world continues to be challenged by governments in Libya and Syria. While the N.A.T.O. bombing campaign rages on in Libya, western governments have yet to intervene in Syria. The country has a history of stunning violence: "In 1982, an estimated 20,000 people were killed in Hama when the army put down an Islamist revolt against the rule of Assad's late father, Hafez." Earlier this summer, France and the U.S. sent diplomats to the city of Hama in solidarity with the protesters.