Many analysts say the Middle East is the focus of a geopolitical power struggle between the United States and Iran. That misses the primary thread of events – namely, the ongoing soft partition of the Arab republics between Turkey and Iran, with Turkey the stronger power.
Bombings in Iraq targeted two Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad today. The violence, coming amid a Sunni-Shiite political crisis, threatens to inflame the tensions that led to civil war in 2006-07.
The scars of Iraq's painful bloodletting are deep, and a powerful disincentive against a return to open warfare. But Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is moving against Sunni Arabs, his political enemies.
Damascus faces a double threat: growing international support for the Syrian National Council and the prospect that Syria's Kurd population could join the opposition's ranks.
Details are still sketchy on who carried out the Oslo bombing, but Norwegian police are also connecting it to a gunmen who attacked a political youth camp shortly after.
A 16-year-old protester was among the first to be killed in democracy protests earlier this year against the corruption and authoritarianism that pervade Kurdish politics.