Syrian President Bashar Assad made his first appearance on state TV in nearly three weeks today in a show of solidarity with a senior Iranian envoy. The day's contrasts couldn't have been more vivid: Assad and Iran's Saeed Jalili vowed to defeat the rebels and their backers, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton predicted Assad's regime was quickly unraveling, citing high-level defections such as his prime minister's switch to the rebel side.
Jalili, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, promised Iran would stand by Syria against its international "enemies." While there were no public pledges of greater military assistance, the mission by Jalili appeared to reflect Iran's efforts to reassure Syria of its backing and ease speculation that Tehran also could be making contingencies for Assad's possible fall. In Germany, meanwhile, Clinton said Assad's regime wouldn't last long. "I am not going to put a timeline on it," she said. "I can't possibly predict it, but I know it's going to happen as do most observers around the world." (Read more Syria stories.)