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Thursday's Mini-Report

Today's edition of quick hits:* Assad's precarious future: "Russia's top Middle East diplomat and the leader of NATO offered dark and

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Assad's precarious future: "Russia's top Middle East diplomat and the leader of NATO offered dark and strikingly similar assessments of the embattled Syrian president's future on Thursday, asserting that he was losing control of the country after a nearly two-year conflict that has taken 40,000 lives and has threatened to destabilize the Middle East."

* As ugly as things get in Washington, I suppose Americans can take some solace in the fact that they're not this ugly.

* Eurozone: "European leaders on Thursday approved joint regulation of the region's major banks, an important step in resolving the euro zone's three-year financial crisis."

* Hagel headed for the cabinet? "Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has emerged as the leading candidate to become Obama's next Secretary of Defense and may be nominated as soon as this month, according to two people familiar with the matter."

* A good piece from Jonathan Bernstein: "Don't jump to conclusions about Susan Rice."

* A strange dynamic on display in the House Judiciary Committee: "House Republicans have President Barack Obama's back—at least when it comes to targeted killing."

* Sorry to see him go: "Harold Koh, the top lawyer in the State Department, will step down early next year and return to teaching at Yale Law School, a department official said on Wednesday."

* Texas Senator-elect Ted Cruz (R) gave a speech recently laying out his vision of "opportunity conservatism." Josh Barro took a closer look and concluded that the remarks were "bonkers."

* There are lingering questions as to why four right House Republicans were stripped of their committee slots by the GOP leadership, and the newest explanation focuses in on the "a**hole factor."

* I will not miss Joe Lieberman.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.