The Iraq War emboldened hawks in the United States and Iran. Increasingly obsessed with each other, they shunned pragmatism for an ideology of confrontation which saw both sides expend political and economic capital they could not afford for ambitions that were beyond them.
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...
The underlying logic to the current Israeli military response in Gaza is that Hamas can somehow be destroyed. Instead, the strategy will fuel support for Hamas and will feed the single narrative of suffering that sustains Al-Qa’ida and its global ideological affiliates.