The following regions and issues are among those critical to both short- and long-term US interests. They should draw greater US attention and diplomatic efforts.
Iraqi Kurdistan is moving ahead with independence plans. With Kurds also holding an important swing vote in Iraq's parliament, this is a problem. A big one.
Elections in Indonesia, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Tunisia could further redefine Islam's role in Muslim countries still learning the ways of democracy.
Turkey has prospered under the controversial prime minister. But his modernization agenda has also fueled opposition to his rule and exposed his autocratic style.
PEN International has rallied writers to protest Turkey's nationwide ban on Twitter
Turkey has tried to stay out of the Syrian war, but a leaked recording shows officials planning a limited action. The government has blocked YouTube to halt the spread of the recording.