There is much confusion over the supposed 'merger' between Syria's Jabhet al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq group. The confusion itself emphasisesthe erosion of Al-Qa'ida's supra-national aims and the reduced focus on Western targets.
The supposed 'merger' between the Syrian opposition group 'Jabhet al-Nusra' and Al-Qa'ida in Iraq is nothing new. But it underscores the Jihadist takeover of the Syrian opposition while moderates remain weak and divided and the humanitarian crisis worsens.
Israel’s actions in Gaza are designed to deal with more than the present challenge presented by Hamas – there are long term existential issues at stake. If Israel is to deter its neighbours from becoming involved in wars in the future, it must set back the strategic penetration of Iran and its radical axis.
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...