Isn't it ironic, that right now Iraq seems to be one of the more stable countries in the Middle East... Cynically, Israel has chosen this time in the waning days of President Bush to attack Gaza. Daod Kuttab reports in the Washington Post that it also has reenergized Hamas as a legitimate political force, when its influence had been waning in Gaza, steadily declining in the past two years. Nobody was even buying the bobble-head dolls... Of course, Israel is trying to woo over the right wing in time for the next elections, so they don't appear soft on Palestinian determination.
" For different reasons, Hamas and Israel both gave up on the cease-fire, preferring instead to climb over corpses to reach their political goals. One side wants to resuscitate its public support by appearing to be a heroic resister, while the other, on the eve of elections, wants to show toughness to a public unhappy with the nuisance of the Qassam rockets.
The disproportionate and heavy-handed Israeli attacks on Gaza have been a bonanza for Hamas. The movement has renewed its standing in the Arab world, secured international favor further afield and succeeded in scuttling indirect Israeli-Syrian talks and direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It has also greatly embarrassed Israel's strongest Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan. "
As oil prices rose, so did their stocks. But rather than investing sufficiently in drilling and exploration, Russia’s president at the time, Vladimir V. Putin, used them to pursue his agenda of regaining public control over the oil fields, and much of private industry beyond.
As a result, by the time the downturn came, they entered the credit crisis deeply in debt and with a backlog of capital investment needs. (Under Mr. Putin, now the prime minister, Gazprom and Rosneft are so tightly controlled by the Kremlin that the companies are not run by mere government appointees, but directly by government ministers who sit on their boards."