For Obama, the situation in Syria comes as the war in Afghanistan slogs along, the US tries to disengage from Iraq while escalating its military action in Libya, and the American public is weary of foreign entanglements with no apparent connection to national security.
Israel is concerned that the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will give rise to the Muslim Brotherhood and create an 'encirclement' of hostile states.
That's the argument in an Atlantic Monthly cover story out this week. Others say Israel is striking a tough pose on Iran to push the Obama administration toward taking action on its own.
The Libya-sponsored Almathea is the latest of several attempts to break Israel's Gaza blockade since a fatal raid killed nine pro-Palestinian activists on May 31.
After a week of intense international criticism for its raid on the Gaza 'Freedom Flotilla,' a senior Israeli official told the Monitor the government may ease the blockade that the MV Rachel Corrie is now drawing fresh attention to.
The saber-rattling between Israel and Lebanon – which Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman extended to Syria – has created an atmosphere similar to the one that preceded Israel's 1982 invasion.
Turkey today accepted Israel's second, stronger apology. But changes in both countries' leadership – and in regional politics – are straining a long-standing and relatively close relationship.
Amid high international tensions over Iran's nuclear program, the US and Israel are engaged in three weeks of virtual wargames aboard the USS Higgins, a missile-defense warship.
Israel does have the capability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, but such an operation would be very complex and costly, politically.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates reassured Israelis that the offer to talk to Tehran isn't open-ended, but some caution that Obama's basic policy on the issue has not changed.