Top of the Morning: International Women’s Day; US Readying for War in Syria?

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US War Plans for Syria?

Some important testimony in the US Congress on Wednesday. “President Obama has asked the Pentagon for military options on Syria, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, told the Senate on Wednesday. But both General Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said the administration still believed that diplomatic and economic pressure was the best solution for protecting Syrians from the Assad regime. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee, Mr. Panetta and General Dempsey fended off sharp questions from Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, about why the administration was not considering American airstrikes in Syria. On Monday Mr. McCain became the first senator to call for airstrikes, describing them as “the only realistic way” to stop what he called a slaughter…But Mr. Panetta said intervention could expedite a civil war in the country and make an explosive situation worse. He said bluntly that the Obama administration recognized “that there are limitations of military force, especially with U.S. boots on the ground.” Both Mr. Panetta and General Dempsey said repeatedly that Syria was far different from Libya, where an American-led air campaign established a no-fly zone before the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last year. General Dempsey told the committee that although “we can do anything,” Syria had five times the air defenses that Libya did, and because of that establishing a no-fly zone would take “an extended period of time and a great number of aircraft.” He said the early stages of an air campaign would “almost unquestionably” be led by the United States, as was the case in Libya, because of American electronic warfare capabilities.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/AiXqzY)

International Women’s Day

Empowering Women: A Life Cycle of Malnutrition (TrustLaw http://bit.ly/ydd7Jv)

Can we “fix” gender disparity for rural women? (TrustLaw http://bit.ly/wnar3S)

When property is a matter of life and death (TrustLaw http://bit.ly/yUVWw0)

Improving women’s access to skilled birth attendants in rural Nigeria (TrustLaw http://bit.ly/wNTXU0)

Hope and health for rural women in India (TrustLaw http://bit.ly/AwzqxA)

Rural women all over the world face medical challenges (TrustLaw http://bit.ly/xkQV8o)

Reflections on gender and cross-cultural sensitivity (Going International http://bit.ly/ydxknh)

Protecting & Promoting Women’s Rights Around the World by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (USAID http://bit.ly/zYl4xr)

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