Will Homs be the epicenter of a coming Syrian civil war? The city’s diverse communities are on different sides of the political conflict. A Syrian expat details Homs’ social and ethnic history, and what it means for the near future. Plus: The Economist notes with trepidation the signs that point to a coming Syrian civil war.Class war and ethnic tension swirling in South Africa? The country-wide euphoria that swirled in the wake of last year’s soccer World Cup is wearing off, and some worry the balance between blacks and whites, rich and poor is unraveling. With a weak central leadership, political and commercial cronyism, rampant unemployment – especially among the youth – and rising social pressures, Africa’s most stable country could face a tumultuous future.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is on tour in Iran. On Sunday, he suggested a possible change to the country’s political system: the abolition of the post of president, who is “elected” by the people, in favor of a prime minister who would more directly serve as the mouthpiece of the mullahs. The trend toward democracy in Iran is not an easy road.The New Republic profiles the most powerful, least famous people in Washington (paywall alert).Depression and confusion in Afghanistan: 60 percent of Afghans polled in a recent survey believe the country will dissolve into civil war when NATO forces withdraw. At the same time, however, 56 percent of those polled view NATO as an occupying force.