One year after the Arab revolutions began with so much promise, the trends have turned darkly ominous in the two key countries at the heart of the Middle East — Egypt and Syria. At this time last year, many of us hoped we might be witnessing the start of the most significant and positive change in the Arab world since the creation of the modern Middle East after the First World War. But events are now moving quickly in the opposite direction, highlighting the sharply reduced influence of the United States, until recently the most important outside power. Horrific violence in Syria’s civil war and a looming showdown between Islamists and the military in Egypt point to a Middle East more troubled than stable and more violent than peaceful in the year ahead.
Burns, Nicholas. "Dark Days in Mideast Test US Policy." Boston Globe, February 17, 2012.