WHY IT MATTERS: Issues at stake in election - Article Photos 5/40

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2012 file image made from video, Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech in Damascus, Syria. Syria's conflict is the most violent to emerge from last year's Arab Spring. The protests started peacefully but prompted a brutal crackdown by President Bashar Assad's government. The fighting has escalated into a civil war that has killed just over 30,000 people over the last year and a half, according to activists. Despite intervening in Libya, the United States has steered clear of taking military action or arming Syria's rebels. (AP Photo/Syrian State Television via APTN) SYRIA OUT TV OUT