The Associated Press
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
Boston Herald on Israel enforces its red line:
Well, President Barack Obama may have trouble figuring out where his red lines are in Syria, but not so Israel, which launched two air strikes over the weekend aimed at destroying high-powered weapons destined for the Syrian-backed terrorists of Hezbollah.
In doing so, it is attempting to prevent a repeat of the 2006 Lebanese war in which Hezbollah launched missiles from Lebanon into northern Israel and as far south as Haifa. The weapons targeted in this weekend's raid -- the Iranian-built Fatah-110s -- are capable of reaching Tel Aviv, which during the '06 war served as a safe haven for tens of thousands of Israelis fleeing their homes in the north.
The Israelis have repeatedly warned that Hezbollah will not be allowed to acquire Syrian chemical weapons, long-range Scud missiles, missiles capable of attacking naval vessels from the coast and Russian anti-aircraft missiles -- the latter destroyed during a January air strike. That's their red line.
Israel has also deployed two batteries of its Iron Dome defense system in the north just in case the embattled Assad regime decides to take the air raids somewhat more personally. (Opposition activists reported that 42 Syrian soldiers were killed in the raids.)
The White House, which has done little to combat the lawlessness that threatens to overtake Syria, has at least defended Israel's right to defend itself against the kind of terrorism that virtually surrounds it.
And Israel for its part has maintained an extraordinary level of diplomatic and military calm even as it deals with the "stray" Syrian shells that have been landing in the Golan Heights.
"Alongside readiness and alertness, it's always good to prepare and train -- but there are no winds of war," said Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, head of Israel's northern command.
Still the contagion that is now Syria is making the region -- and the world -- a less safe place with every passing day.
The Seattle Times on North Korea needing to release Kenneth Bae:
North Korea's sentencing of Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor is likely meant to provoke the United States. China and other international allies interested in regional stability should encourage that isolated regime to release the Lynnwood, Wash., man on humanitarian grounds, as it has done for other Americans trapped in similar circumstances.
North Korea's Supreme Court sentenced Bae for "hostile acts" against the country, the government-run Korean Central News Agency said Thursday. That's a less serious charge than the one Bae reportedly faced last weekend -- trying to overthrow the government, a crime that could have led to the death penalty.
Bae operates a tour company out of China and has led groups to North Korea before. South Korean humanitarians say before his Nov. 3, 2012, arrest, he may have taken photos while feeding orphans in the border region of Rason. The European travelers in Bae's tour were reportedly released.
U.S. officials know this game well. In the past, Americans crossing the border were held until a high-profile visit from the likes of former presidents Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter.
The difference this time is tensions are especially high with North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, eager to prove himself. In December, the regime launched a long-range rocket. In February, it conducted a third nuclear test.
These actions have brought international condemnation.
The Embassy of Sweden represents U.S. interests in Pyongyang, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says China's longstanding diplomatic relations with North Korea will be instrumental in getting Kim's rogue government to listen.
After months of relative silence on the circumstances of Bae's detention, a State Department official this week called accusations against the man "completely unwarranted" and lacking in substance.
North Korea does itself no favors by keeping Kenneth Bae in custody.
The Post and Courier of Charleston on thuggish 'politics' persist in Venezuela:
Many Americans reasonably detect, and lament, a decline of civility in our political process. But at least members of our Congress confine their partisan blows to the verbal variety.
In Venezuela's parliament, though, a heated debate got physical -- and bloody -- on Tuesday. Brawling by members of the National Assembly produced numerous injuries as the bitterness of a disputed presidential election to replace the late leftist blowhard -- and bully -- Hugo Chavez persists.