Gary Sick, who was the chief White House aide during Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the hostage crisis that followed, says the Green reform movement has a surprising strength. Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Iran Thursday.
How to battle Al Qaeda-affiliated extremists in Yemen has been added to a London conference on Afghanistan. The Fort Hood shooting and Christmas Day airline bombing attempt have made Yemen's extremists a more urgent problem for the US and its antiterror allies.
Richard Holbrooke, Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, wants to unify allies at a time when many Europeans sense drift in the war and a lack of clear US policy.
Iraqi lawmakers are divided over legislation required to go ahead with elections scheduled for January. Drawdown of US troops in Iraq was set to speed up after the elections.
Amid likely vote fraud, some experts now call for a coalition government or a return to the tribal system to clear the impasse.
The impoverished country's battles against Shiite rebels and a growing Al Qaeda threat have heightened tensions between Sunni and Shiite neighbors in the region.
All sides have promised to meet again. Israeli settlements and a belligerent Iran remain the biggest stumbling blocks.
Though many Afghan citizens and politicians are alleging fraud, analysts say getting to the bottom of what happened is a difficult exercise.
With President Hamid Karzai's rivals crying foul, the incumbent may win by solid margins but lose legitimacy – which could hamper counterinsurgency efforts.
President Ahmadinejad's bellicose rhetoric has raised concerns about Iran's intentions. Whether or not he is reelected Friday, here's what Western policymakers now need to consider.