The self-declared Islamic State has released a video showing the beheading of a second US journalist. The US has few easy options to navigate a complex, multi-front war in Iraq and Syria.
Iraq's president has nominated a replacement for Prime Minister Maliki, who is unpopular at home and abroad. But Iraq's problems go much deeper.
Viewing the enemy as a monster only motivated by hate – and only capable of responding to maximum force – can lead to error.
A black and white approach to the conflict isn't likely to yield better outcomes for either Israelis and Palestinians.
The Islamic State's game plan is to use massive doses of savagery and terror to get what it wants in Iraq. So far, it's working.
The US Department of Justice arrested a Russian in Guam for involvement in a hacking and stolen credit card ring. Moscow says he was framed.
Hatred, anger, and desires for revenge are being driven ever higher by the dynamic of unequal violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Preliminary results for Afghanistan's presidential election appear to show Ashraf Ghani won in a landslide. But his defeated opponent is unlikely to accept the result.
Iraqi Kurdistan is moving ahead with independence plans. With Kurds also holding an important swing vote in Iraq's parliament, this is a problem. A big one.
Opium production and heroin addiction are soaring in Afghanistan.
Almost certainly not, as a look at recent writing on the question shows.
And if a small fortune spent over nearly 10 years, along with tens of thousands of American military trainers, didn't work, what can a few hundred advisers hope to do?
Israel holds most of the cards now and the killers are not yet known. But if the past is any indication, things are due to get a lot hotter in Israel and Palestine.
The wars in Iraq and Syria will rage on. But the declaration by ISIS, the biggest jihadi army fighting in Syria and Iraq, that it's now a 'caliphate' should accelerate the group's inevitable failure.