After a string of defeats against better armed Tuareg rebels, Mali's army staged a mutiny and overthrew the government.
After overrunning Homs and launching an assault on Idlib, Syrian government troops are staging an offensive on Deraa, where the uprising began a year ago.
But that doesn't mean that President-elect Vladimir Putin will soften Russia's opposition to intervention in Syria, as the US had hoped.
Iran made a show yesterday of the loading of domestically produced fuel rods and installment of new centrifuges. Israel and the US see the moves as bravado.