National Security Brief: Top U.N. Rights Official Says World Failing To Protect Syrians

The United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights said on Monday that the international community is failing in protecting civilians and other victims of Syria’s civil war.

“Appalling violations of the most basic human rights are occurring in Syria, and I fear that we in the international community are failing to meet our fundamental obligations to the victims,” Navi Pillay in an address to the Human Rights Council.

“We have agreed that we have a duty to protect our fellow human beings — even if they are born in other countries; and even when they are being crushed by governments that have a claim to sovereignty over their territory,” Ms. Pillay said, according to the New York Times, urging states “to make every effort to forge an end to this humanitarian disaster.”

Meanwhile, Hezbollah, the militant group allied with Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has is officially committed to battling alongside the Syrian military in its war against rebels. “It is our battle, and we are up to it,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday. The Times lays out the Nasrallah’s gamble:

Fighting a pre-emptive war against foreign jihadists is not the usual mission for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group best known for confronting Israel. So when its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, explained why he was sending fighters into Syria, he took care to remind his followers that they were not “living in Djibouti” but on the border of a country whose two-year uprising Hezbollah sees as a threat to its existence.

With its plunge into the Syrian civil war, Hezbollah is taking its followers in an unaccustomed direction, in a gamble that could help rescue it from that threat, bringing it new power and confidence, or end in a defeat with wide repercussions. Hezbollah is betting its prestige and security on the effort to crush a Syrian rebellion that is detested by Hezbollah’s Shiite Muslim base, but popular with the group’s Lebanese rivals and with much of the Sunni majority in the wider Arab world.

In other news:

  • The Washington Post reports: Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry.
  • Reuters adds: Chinese hackers have stolen the blueprints of a new multi-million-dollar Australian spy headquarters as part of a growing wave of cyber attacks against business and military targets in the close U.S. ally.
  • The New York Times reports: In an effort to revive the moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a plan on Sunday to invest as much as $4 billion to develop the economy of the West Bank.
  • The AP reports: Republicans keep slamming President Obama’s push to move the government away from a war footing and refine and recalibrate counterterrorism strategy.
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