The US troop surge in 2007 helped quiet Iraq's bloody civil war. But it failed to deliver on what US officials and officers said was crucial for Iraq's future at the time: sectarian reconciliation. Rather than forging a new national identity out of the horrors of Iraq's war, Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Arabs and ethnic Kurds sullenly retreated to their own sectarian corners, and the country's political parties remain vehicles for ethnic or sectarian interests. The next year is probably going to be the most crucial for determining the future of Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003, as Iraq's various political factions compete for power and influence without foreign troops getting in the way. Here are a few of the major players.
Hassan's poetry has brought him literary fame but also 30 death threats.
A poll by Northwestern in Qatar, due out tomorrow, shows growing trust in regional news outlets across the Arab world.
Palestinians are returning to their refugee camp after fighting sent them fleeing, but the number fleeing Syria or facing internal displacement continues to rise.
The fractious Syrian opposition has come together to create a new unified front in their battle against President Bashar al-Assad.
The opposition's Syrian National Council began a conference in Qatar yesterday to overhaul its structure. Many, including the US, have lost confidence in the fragmented group.
An Arab League official indicates a cease-fire is unlikely as Syrian President Assad has signaled little support. Meanwhile, the conflict is showing signs of spilling into Lebanon and Jordan.