Top of the Morning: Word of Massacre in Babo Amr, Homs; Obama to Iran and Israel, “I don’t Bluff”; Money Quote from a Donor

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Security Council Finally, Finally Finally Finds Consensus on Syria

The Security Council issued a “Presidential Statement’ on Thursday, which is the first time that the Council has passed anything Syria related since August. Note that this was not a resolution, but a “statement” is still politically relevant for the fact that Russia and China signed on. So what did it say? Let in the humanitarians! “The United Nations Security Council urged Syria to halt a humanitarian crisis taking place in the country, a statement said on Thursday, which was also signed by long-time Syria backers Russia and China. In the missive, UNSC members said they “deplore” a rapidly humanitarian crisis, urging Syrian authorities to allow UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos to visit the country.” (Ha’aretz

Meanwhile, there is deep fear that a massacre took place in the Baba Amro neighborhood of Homs, including be-headings, as the rebel forces were overrun. We will know more later today when the Red Cross finally makes its way to the city. (AlterNet

Obama to Iran (and Israel) “I Don’t Bluff”

With a Visit by Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House looming this weekend, Washington, DC is gripped with heated discussions over Iran. The journalist Jeffrey Goldberg sat down with President Obama for a long interview that focused on US plans to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “The 45-minute Oval Office conversation took place less than a week before the president was scheduled to address the annual convention of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, and then meet, the next day, with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House. In the interview, Obama stated specifically that ‘all options are on the table,’ and that the final option is the ‘military component.’ But the president also said that sanctions organized by his administration have put Iran in a ‘world of hurt,’ and that economic duress might soon force the regime in Tehran to rethink its efforts to pursue a nuclear-weapons program. ‘Without in any way being under an illusion about Iranian intentions, without in any way being naive about the nature of that regime, they are self-interested,’ Obama said. ‘It is possible for them to make a strategic calculation that, at minimum, pushes much further to the right whatever potential breakout capacity they may have, and that may turn out to to be the best decision for Israel’s security.’ The president also said that Tehran’s nuclear program would represent a “profound” national-security threat to the United States even if Israel were not a target of Iran’s violent rhetoric, and he dismissed the argument that the United States could successfully contain a nuclear Iran.” (Atlantic

Money Quote from a Donor: USAID unveiled a new policy that aims to focus U.S. foreign aid resources on empowering the world’s women and girls. Says USAID administrator Raj Shah: “We know that long-term, sustainable development will only be possible when women and men enjoy equal opportunity to rise to their potential. With this policy, we can ensure our values and commitments are reflected in durable, meaningful results for all.” (Deseret News