Syria vs. Islamist militants: is it hype?
The Syrian president warns of growing al-Qaida presence in neighboring Lebanon, and the state media in his closed nation quickly breaks news of gunbattles between police and Islamic militants in the Syrian capital. Syria is touting what it calls an increasing threat of Islamic extremists, fueled by popular anger over the violence in Iraq. But opponents of President Bashar Assad’s regime claim it’s a dodge with a number of aims: to score support with the United States, to defuse international pressure and to provide a pretext for Syrian meddling in neighboring Lebanon. Full Story