Iraq is on the brink of civil war. Restless Sunni minorities are emboldened by Sunni opposition in Syria and entrenched authoritarianism by a Shia led government. The only solution is deeper de-centralisation or a break-up of Iraq itself.
Iran's Guardian Council has just published its list of approved candidates for presidential elections -notable for its absence of challengers to the Supreme Leader. The eventual winner needs to repair external alliances and re-energise faith in the Islamic Republic amongst Iranians.
Recent allegations by the Canadian authorities about Al-Qa'ida in Iran has ignited a flurry of commentary. Experience suggests however that the release of limited intelligence of this nature is fraught with dangers for the public trust and risks being counter-productive.
The culture of resistance in the Arab world has become more uncompromising and more anti-European as a result of the attacks on Gaza and the round of international diplomacy that has followed it. Israel and its supporters have already suffered a major strategic defeat.
At last the prospects for stability in Iraq seem good. With many changes expected in 2009 there is a real opportunity for the Iraqis themselves to seize the initiative and claim back their sense of sovereignty. Of course there are hurdles to clear such as provincial elections, defining the status of Kirkuk and managing sectarianism without the impartial US forces, but the current momentum should...
The underlying logic to the current Israeli military response in Gaza is that Hamas can somehow be destroyed. Instead, the strategy will fuel support for Hamas and will feed the single narrative of suffering that sustains Al-Qa’ida and its global ideological affiliates.