As tanks roll into the Syrian town of Hama to crush opposition to President Assad, the international community has voiced its outrage at the ensuing human rights violations. But unlike Libya, words will not be followed up by deeds.
Since the fall of Mubarak, there has been much concern about the viability of the 30-year peace between Israel and Egypt. Egypt will certainly be a less pliable partner to Israel, but however threatened it may feel by its neighbour's changing social and political dynamics, the Jewish state need not panic about the peace treaty breaking.
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...