1. FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

    Iran Backs al-Assad

    A Syrian rebel takes position on a street in the northern city of Aleppo on August 3, 2012. Shells rained down on rebel positions in Aleppo ahead of a UN vote to deplore both the Syrian regime's use of heavy arms and world powers for failing to agree on steps to end the conflict. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI        (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GettyImages)

    Ahmad Gharabli, AFP / Getty Images

    Beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared on television with a senior Iranian official Tuesday, as Iran threw its support behind his government. “Iran will not allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be an essential part, to be broken in any way," said Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. “Axis of resistance” is a club term for the two Shi'ite nations’ anti-Israel crusade. The endorsement comes at a helpful time for Assad, as his troops move on the city of Aleppo with massive firepower, trying to drive out rebel forces. Iran says it may provide humanitarian aid to Syria; the rebels say they’re low on ammunition, with government forces closing in on both sides.

    Read it at Reuters