Only a fool offers longer term predictions about the Middle East. I offer the following shorter term predictions about the Middle East for 2015.
Is the Russian Ruble becoming financial rubble as consequence of targeting by the U.S. and its allies? The dramatic fall in oil prices and commensurate drop in the Russian currency, is this coincidental to broader global economic trends or an orchestrated assault?
In a world rife with war, religious, racial, gender, sectarian, and political strife, when so many children lack safety, enough food, shelter, health care, and education and suffer unthinkable losses of parents to disease, violence, and war, I hope this New Year will bring adults closer to our common sense and moral responsibility for children's well being.
A smarter strategy would exploit a key weakness: the complete disconnect between the Islamic past Jihadists invoke and the bloodthirsty, closed societies they have created.
Irrespective of those mutations, I still cling to the stubborn belief that the peoples of the MENA yearn for dignity and equal citizenship rather than cling to conditional patronage by their political and religious rulers or else control by self-obsessed Islamist groups. This is why I remain guardedly hopeful that a constructive dialogue in 2015 could help face those daunting challenges.
The number of major crises taking place around the globe this past year has been unparalleled in recent history. In fact, 2014 often seemed filled with intractable emergencies that were simply too big, too complex and too daunting to fathom, let alone solve. This felt particularly true when it came to humanitarian action.
The calamity that unfolded following the Syrian uprising in 2011 and the rise of ISIS following its blitzkrieg advance across a large swath of territories in Iraq and Syria has led to one of the most devastating humanitarian crisis in the history of mankind.
The Middle East is one of the world's most strategically significant regions. Stunningly, perhaps, the region does not yet have in place the necessary institutions and mechanisms to discuss and manage, and to prevent and respond to crises. Strategic and visionary leadership is required to reverse the state of the region.
"War is peace" double-speak has become commonplace these days. And, the more astute foreign policy journalists and commentators are beginning to realize the extent of how "liberal interventionists" work in sync with neocon warhawks to produce and sustain a perpetual state of U.S. war.
Some Christian families started to trickle back following the truce between the regime forces and the rebels but life will never go back the way it was. Most Muslim families were not allowed to return to their homes. This year, Christmas in Homs will have a big void, its Muslim merrymakers.
Historians may look back and see 2014 as the tipping point when the world started falling apart instead of coming together. Visionary scientists remain enthusiastic that, thanks to converging new technologies from artificial intelligence to regenerative medicine, genetic synthesis and green energy, our civilization is on the threshold of a new and harmonious singularity. Yet, all around us the signs of splintering abound in revived nationalisms, ardent religious wars and the reappearance of geopolitical blocs. Even the global connectivity of the Internet once thought to embody a world spirit is balkanizing.
This is how a journalist who writes about human traffickers suddenly became a human trafficker himself.
I wonder if something slightly odd has happened in the past six months or so, whereby the attention devoted to the group in the media and political spheres has dwelt unceasingly on their "barbarity" but failed to actually convey the scale of the human rights crimes involved. Has the effect been to almost trivialise the reality?
How can we allow this? How are we supposed to explain to the children brought up in the west why children in other parts of the world aren't granted even the tiniest of safety?
"The first thing we need to do is find a way in which we can 'freeze' the situation in Aleppo. These people have been under siege for two years. The city is very close to collapsing. If we do not do anything and the city collapses, it could fall into the hands of ISIS, which is only 20 kilometers away, and that would be an even bigger tragedy."
In denouncing Obama's Cuba initiative, Republican political figures have planted themselves firmly in the past, just as they had denounced diplomatic ties with China and the Panama Canal treaty.