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.
Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has launched two initiatives that would improve its relationship with countries in the Middle East. Whilst there are undoubtedly common interests on which to build, the public perception of NATO in the region leaves much to be desired. The Alliance must tread carefully if it wishes to build lasting relationships in the region.