Most groups engaged in conflict in Syria are being leveraged by some or other external power. It is beyond debate or rather is well documented that the US or NATO has leveraged several affiliates of Al Qaeda in different conflicts.
A new pirouette has begun in Syria. Only after the US elections will it become clear who is on the dance floor and who is sinking in a quagmire.
Saudi refusal of the rotating Security Council seat has been seen for what it partly is: a tantrum. But it is also a clue to a coming political reality: West Asian politics may well be reverting to normality. The frenetic pace at which events moved in the Bush years after 9/11 when the United States could ride two horses, Israel and Saudi Arabia at the same time, on the gallop, is only possible on an extensive “straight”. This was the delusionary part of the neo-cons thinking. They thought the US would be on the “straight” forever, having defeated the Soviet Union. But now there is a bend in the race track.
The Cuban Missile Crisis produced great scholarship. A classic of the period, 'Essence of A Decision' by Prof. Grahame Allison, is a study of decision making in the Kennedy administration during a crisis when the world came close to a nuclear collision. By that reckoning, research proposals must be in the process of being cleared as to who ordered the two ballistic missiles towards Syria which Russian intercepts brought down in the Mediterranean? The whole episode is frightening.
Russians across the board are sensitive to the status reversal they suffered with the Soviet collapse. This is Vladimir Putin’s strong point: he stokes Russian nationalism by appearing to stand upto the West.
The killing of former KGB agent Alexandar Litvinenko in 2006 is still a mystery. The recently leaked US diplomatic cables by whistleblower website Wikileaks throw some light on the entire episode but there are no clues regarding who might have killed him and why.