It’s no wonder that Egypt has floundered in its efforts to create a more democratic system from the ruins of the Mubarak regime.
A lack of Israeli pressure for the U.S. to intervene and Israel’s ability to go after sensitive targets in Syria on its own are factors in the Barack Obama administration’s reluctance to get more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war.
European countries are imposing unprecedented sanctions against Iran in part in hopes of preventing an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations that could further destabilise the Middle East and wreak havoc on the global economy.
A former senior adviser on the Middle East to the last four U.S. presidents says that "the negatives far outweigh the positives" of war with Iran and the United States should augment Israel's nuclear weapons delivery systems to dissuade it from attacking the Islamic Republic.
The Barack Obama administration is increasingly giving the impression that it supports a policy of regime change against Iran - a policy that could backfire and convince Iran to build nuclear weapons.
The recent escalation in Iranian threats to blockade oil shipments and attack U.S. Navy vessels are meant to push up the price of oil and divert domestic opinion from an economic crisis but are not likely to lead to a war in the Persian Gulf, in the view of Iran experts.
Veteran observers of U.S.-Iran relations know better than to be optimistic about the chances for reconciliation between the two countries. It has long been the pattern - indeed the curse - that when one side was ready to engage, the other was not.
The Barack Obama administration and the United Nations are struggling to convince the leadership of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group with cult-like characteristics, to vacate a camp in Iraq and allow residents to move to another location in the country or risk the lives of as many as 3,200 people.
Iran is courting the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al- Assad, seeking to maintain a crucial alliance in the event that Assad falls.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said Friday that he believes that sanctions and diplomacy are the right strategy to deal with Iran's nuclear programme and that the United States "is doing everything we can to accomplish the stated objective without resorting to military force".
Scenes from Tehran Tuesday of bearded Iranian youth swarming over the walls of the British embassy evoked memories of the 1979-81 hostage crisis that created the image of Iran as a pariah state.
Under intense pressure from the U.S. Congress and U.S. presidential election politics, the Barack Obama administration Monday declared the Islamic Republic of Iran a "primary money laundering concern" - a designation that stops short of blacklisting Iran's Central Bank but is intended to persuade more foreign governments, banks and companies to curtail business with Iranian financial entities.
Actions by the Arab League this week have given a regional seal of approval to Syrian opposition forces and could mark the beginning of the end of the Assad family dictatorship that has ruled Syria for more than 40 years.
A new report on Iran's nuclear programme provides substantial evidence that Iran carried out extensive research into how to make a nuclear weapon prior to 2003 but is shaky about how much work has continued.
Washington's failure to gain Iraqi approval for a significant U.S. military presence in that country beyond December could make it harder for Afghanistan to agree to a similar deployment beyond 2014.