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CNN, AL JAZEERA, THE GUARDIAN

Worldcrunch

SYRIA - Following the defection of Syria's ambassador to Iraq, both diplomatic and military pressure is growing on President Bashar al-Assad as violence continues, including around the capital Damascus. Reports on Thursday suggest that the defection of Syria's ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares,who called for other members of the regime to follow his lead, could lead to new defections. A journalist at the Abu Dhabi daily The National wrote on Twitter that opposition forces told him as many as 31 top diplomats are ready to switch sides in the ongoing conflict.

In an exclusive statement to Al Jazeera on Wednesday (see video below), Fares explained that he was resigning from his post in Bagdhad and from the ruling Baath party. "I urge all honest members of this party to follow my path because the regime has turned it the party to an instrument to kill people and their aspiration to freedom," Fares told the Qatari television station.

On Thursday the Syrian authorities said they had fired Fares, who is the highest-ranking diplomat to defect since the uprising started 16 months ago, CNN reports. The Guardian Middle East Live Blog is reporting that Fares is now in Qatar.

This is the second high profile defection after a high-ranking brigadier general close to Assad fled the country over a week ago. Reports on Thursday indicated that a new wave of defections could follow.

The Guardian also reported that leaked minutes of the meeting on Monday between Bashar al-Assad and United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan were correct in indicating that the two men had discussed a possible interlocutor for the regime, to explore the formation of a transitional government with the opposition.

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Geopolitics

Capitol Riot, Brazil Style? The Specter Of Violence If Bolsonaro Loses The Presidency

Brazilian politics has a long history tainted with violence. As President Jair Bolsonaro threatens to not accept the results if he loses his reelection bid Sunday, the country could explode in ways similar to, or even worse, than the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol after Donald Trump refused to accept his defeat.

Supporters of Brazil presidential candidates Bolsonaro and Lula cross the streets of Brasilia with banners ahead of the first round of the elections on Oct. 2.

Angela Alonso

-Analysis-

SÂO PAULO — Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro delivered a message to his nation this year on the anniversary of its independence day, September 7. He recalled what he saw as the nation’s good times, and bad, and declared: “Now, 2022, history may repeat itself. Good has always triumphed over evil. We are here because we believe in our people and our people believe in God.”

It was a moment that’s typical of how this president seeks to challenge the democratic rules. Bolsonaro has been seen as part of a new populist global wave. Ahead of Sunday's first round of voting, the sitting president is trailing in the polls, and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva could even tally more than 50% to win the race outright and avoid an Oct. 30 runoff. Bolsonaro has said he might not accept the results of the race, which could spark violence from his supporters.

However, Brazil has a tradition of political violence. There is a national myth that the political elite prefer negotiation and avoid armed conflicts. Facts do not support the myth. If it did all major political change would have been peaceful: there would have been no independence war in 1822, no civil war in 1889 (when the republic replaced the monarchy) and, even the military coup, in 1964, would have been bloodless.

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