President Bashar al-Assad's first speech in months dashed any hopes that a negotiated settlement to the Syrian civil war was soon possible.
The kidnapping of the head of the criminal investigations department in Benghazi, where four US officials were killed last year, is a reminder of how tough Libya's transition remains.
The popular unrest of the last two years has left the Middle East volatile as 2013 kicks off.
An independent panel investigating the 9/11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi released a report finding that the State Department failed at securing the compound on multiple fronts.
From storms to politics, the year was a wild ride. What are the most meaningful US stories of 2012? Here's the Monitor's list, in roughly chronological order.
Reports of Sen. John Kerry becoming Secretary of State, and Republican Chuck Hagel being tapped for Defense, hint at a new attempt to use 'soft power' in Obama's second term. But will it work?
The US State Department designated Syria's Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the militias fighting Bashar al-Assad, a foreign terrorist organization.