Ayatollah Khamenei has firmly rejected the prospect of direct US-Iran talks, but his remarks should be read in the context of Iran's fractured domestic politics. Iran's talks with the P5+1 must progress first.
The deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey in response to the ongoing Syrian civil war makes sense strategically and underscores NATO's relevance. However, they also hamper Turkey's role to seek accommodation with her neighbours.
The Syrian regime has accused Israel of, as yet, unconfirmed attacks against Syrian military installations. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that such a move will trigger a retaliation or threaten a regional war.
The regional elections in Iraq took place in January in a much hoped for atmosphere of peace and security. The results will begin to show whether Iraq remains a patchwork of conflicting groups, or whether progress is being made to draw the country together and develop a sense of national unity.
However disheartening the current war in Gaza has been, it can become the catalyst for such productive peace negotiations that will lead to the two-state solution. The latest conflict in Gaza has demonstrated to both sides that war can no longer improve their position over each other substantially enough to justify the cost involved.
Hamas has repeatedly stated that it has an army of 20,000 men that are willing to defeat their ‘Zionist enemy’ regardless of the cost, echoing the rhetoric of the second intifada (2000-2005). However, there is a crucial difference between the Hamas of the second intifada and the Hamas we see in Gaza today.