US Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford's main challenges are likely to be managing the wind down of the war in Afghanistan. Afghans expect to see few changes on the ground.
Syrian civilians who have remained in Aleppo through weeks of fierce fighting face food and fuel shortages and live in fear of being killed while going about their daily tasks.
On Wednesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai moved to replace his country's intelligence chief, the mister of defense, and the minister of interior.
Hizb-e-Islami, a key militant group, is increasingly supporting many Afghan government priorities, such as girls' education. Such cooperation could boost peace efforts.
After three years of violence, pilgrims return to Karbala's shrine.