In case you hadn't noticed, the Middle East is going from
bad to worse these days.
The Syrian civil war grinds on. Israel and the Palestinians spent
the last month in another pointless bloodletting (most of the blood being
Palestinian). ISIS keeps expanding
its control in parts of Iraq, placing thousands of members of the Yazidi
religious sect in peril and leading the Obama administration to
consider airstrikes or some form of airborne humanitarian aid. Meanwhile,
officials back in Baghdad snipe mostly at each other. Libya continues to
unravel, belying the high-fives that liberal
hawks gave themselves back when Qaddafi fell. A U.S.
general was shot and killed in Afghanistan, and another disputed election threatens
democracy there and may give the Taliban new opportunities to make gains at
Kabul's expense. Turkey's Prime Minister Recip Erdogan has been calling Egyptian
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi a
"tyrant," an irony given Erdogan's own authoritarian tendencies. A
diplomatic spat between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar
remains unsettled. Nature even seems to be against us: the MERS virus on the Arabian
Peninsula may be transmissible by
airborne contact. I'm sure you could find some good news if you tried, but
you'd have to squint pretty hard.