History provides a sobering lesson about western involvement in the Middle East. It is that, when superpowers drift away, peace, progress, moderation and stability do not necessarily follow in their stead.
Late last night, the militant jihadist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) released a video purporting to show the beheading of James Foley, a US journalist who went missing in Syria in 2012. Foley was a fearless, generous and committed reporter, who had also been detained while reporting in Libya.
When was the most stable time in recent Iraqi history? Most likely it was during the British-sponsored Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq from 1921 to 1958.
Attempts to understand the success of Isis in Iraq would benefit from Marxist analysis, since social and economic factors are the key to explaining Sunni Arab support for, and complicity with, the group.
The options offered to the Yazidis are far fewer than to Christians because they are not a monotheistic faith. To the jihadists, Yazidis must either embrace Islam or be killed.
In Gaza, this approach of punishing civilians in the hope that they will turn against their Hamas leaders has been employed by the Israelis since Hamas first came to power in 2006.
The grossly asymmetrical casualties inflicted on the Palestinians have obscured another important question: how far have they even been worth it from Israel’s point of view? By Donald Macintrye.
One of the questions facing David Cameron as he returns from his holiday.
We must not find ourselves wondering how this humanitarian crisis spiralled further and further out of control.
The destruction of this caliphate must come from a Muslim-led force.
What will ultimately stop the deaths of innocent Palestinians and Israelis is a peace deal putting an end to the conflict. But in the meantime, a modification of the Israeli rules of engagement could reduce the number of innocent casualties.
A 1955 archive profile of the founder and first prime minister of Israel, shortly after his return to power.
The inconvenient truth is that the collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza is a collective endeavour in its own right – led by Israel, enforced by Egypt, endorsed by Saudi Arabia.
Iraq is rapidly spiralling into an unprecedented situation - and the international community is standing by.
Israel will know true quiet only by withdrawing from the occupied territories and negotiating a settlement with the Palestinian leadership, which may well include Hamas.
It won’t be quickly forgotten that the strongest condemnation of the killings in Gaza came from Baroness Warsi, a Tory politician.
The Gaza conflict has raised the important question of empathy. Would that both sides were capable of greater empathy and, indeed, imagination.
For more than 30 years, the Islamic Republic has been obsessively battling against sex, but as with anything that is suppressed or banned, people have learned to sidestep the punitive regulations.
Pacifism has attracted a social penalty in Israeli society for decades – many Israelis are immersed in a siege mentality, cynically whipped up at critical moments by their self-serving leadership. But a small anti-war movement clings on.
It shouldn’t be a question of either you support Israel, no matter what it does, or you are on the side of the Islamists.
Palestinian Ghada Al Kord tells of the difficulties of navigating a warzone while pregnant and the indignity of being trapped in Gaza.
Whenever the western left sides instinctively with Palestine my heart says, “Jew-haters” while my mind says, “Shut the f*** up, heart.”
The New Statesman view.
In the end, it is about blood.
The Israeli economist Yaacov Sheinin proposes a bold economic answer to the rockets – but with the repressive Hamas in charge, would it have any chance of materialising?
The BBC's Middle East editor reports from Gaza.
The BBC's former Gaza Strip correspondent on the way the world views the Palestinians, and how Israel transformed from a young David of a fledgling state to the Goliath of the occupation.
Iran does has grave problems but family life is of a quality that has largely disappeared in the west and privacy is respected. Nor is there any sense of the oppression one finds in Wahhabi societies.
The assault on Gaza has been a humanitarian disaster, yet the west's staunch support for Israel continues.
So fragile is the “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians that it takes the smallest spark to light the fuse of war.