For two and a half terms Erdogan and Abdullah Gul kept up a plausible manner: they were non ideological, moderate Muslims. Yes, there was an occasional skirmish on trifles like headscarves for women but no serious threat of a Shariah flag being hoisted on a nation restored by Ataturk. Why, then, did Erdogan manage to shuffle off the moderate image which had caused his reputation to rocket sky high? First, the constitution does not allow a Prime Minister more than three terms. Thus, Erdogan saw the end of the road for himself in internal politics. He will probably try swapping jobs with Abdullah Gul in 2014-15. But will people let him? After all, 70 percent are opposed to conflict with Syria.
In other words, the arrival of the French in Mali could well be the beginning of link ups across the oil and mineral rich regions stretching from Sudan across Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Western Sahara where the Polisario movement will derive strength from the reverberations.
Let me jump the gun on the global pundits. The great charge on Damascus is about to be called off, sorry toned down.
When the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan got into a scrum to launch a programme of manufacturing triple distilled mujahideen Islam in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets the seeds were sown for a conflict within Islam as well.
The shaken monarchies and the remaining dictatorships have rallied around the US and Europe to protect themselves.
The most important takeaway from this fascinating snapshot of the ISI, the Taliban, and Pakistan's view of America and its strategic choices is that Pakistan will never be a predictable puppet of US interests.
The dramatic attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental hotel earlier in the week ties in somewhat convolutedly with the arrest in Karachi in February 2010 of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a Taliban commander.
President Obama has tried to reconcile the irreconcilables – the requirements of his domestic audience and the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.
The Visegrad Group, or V4, consists of four countries — Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.