As West Targets Gadhafi, Syrian Leader Grows Bold

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While the West frets about Libya, Syria’s President Bashar Assad took a triumphal pose in facing down the protests that threaten his family's 40-year regime. 

Surrounded by loyalists in the streets and in parliament, he told the nation that the protests were part of a conspiracy by the U.S. and Israel to bring down the government. 

Although Syria’s leader has promised not to fire on demonstrators, he may put down the rebellion in his own way, since Western powers has chosen not subject him to the same treatment as Libyan dicator Moammar Gadhafi.

"The coalition has taken sides," said Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO. "It's only targeting Gadhafi's forces, including those that aren't in direct action against the rebels."

"We have reports of air strikes against convoys far from the front line," he added. "This is a far cry from the U.N. Security Council resolution."

Obama: Gadhafi's Days Numbered

Meanwhile, Gadhafi's forces in Libya have once again driven back the North African nation's rebel army.

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck appeared on Wednesday's "The 700 Club" to talk about the al-Qaeda presence in the Libyan rebel forces. Click play below to watch his analysis.

Loyalist forces used tanks and rockets Wednesday against the outgunned opposition, forcing them to retreat from the key Libyan oil port of Ras Lanouf.

Despite overnight gains by Gadhafi forces, President Obama said the embattled Libyan leader was feeling the pressure.

 "The circle around Gadhafi understands that the noose is tightening, that their days are probably numbered," Obama said.

In London Tuesday, world leaders from more than 40 countries met to discuss options on how to help the Libyan people in the long term.

"We must help the Libyan people plan for their future after the conflict is over," U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said.

However, coalition leaders are also considering taking further action to aid the rebels -- including supplying them with weapons.

"There could be a legitimate transfer of arms if a country were to choose to do that," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

"I think it's fair to say that if we wanted to get weapons into Libya, we probably could," President Obama told ABC News. "We're looking at all our options at this point."

Terrorist Presence Detected in Libya

Some within the intelligence community have suggested such a move would be unwise due to reports of terrorist elements within the rebel forces.

"We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah," U.S. Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, commander of Eucom and NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

"We are there to protect people, not to arm people," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers say many questions remain unanswered about the Libyan operation.

"If Gadhafi doesn't leave, how long will NATO be there to enforce a no-fly zone?" House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, asked. "That's a very troubling question."

The president has vowed the U.S. will continue to help the rebels in the struggle.

"Until that time, we're going keep on applying pressure and hopefully he's (Moammar Gadhafi)  going to be getting the message soon," Obama said.

According to the latest Pentagon report, Libyan conflict has cost U.S. taxpayers at least $550 million so far.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.