Throughout 2011, Turkish assertiveness in foreign policy has come to the fore, most recently in its dramatic diplomatic spat with Israel. This stance should not be mistaken for a re-orientation away from the Atlantic Alliance.
The expected veto of Palestine's request for statehood in September could spur impetus amongst Palestinians towards a third intifada, if not catalyse it. This potentially has serious implications for the United States and Israel who, in light of the Middle East's current volatile climate, may be better off accepting the imminent bid.
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.
Following the Gaza crisis, pledges of aid for reconstruction are helping to strengthen the political will to create an effective Palestinian Unity Government. Although many challenges remain unresolved, some encouraging signs have emerged from the early stages of reconciliation talks.