I feel it would be remiss of me not to revisit my opinions on the middle-east given recent escalation.
1) There was a point in time with quite a bit of optimism on three fronts - Democracy in Palestine and Iraq, Syria pulling troops out of Lebanon, and Australia and Japan working together in Iraq. Well as I expected, democratic palestine is as hopeless as totalitarian palestine, Syria pulling out of Lebanon was almost completely useless without a disarming of Hezbollah, and Japan took the opportunity to pull out at about the time we were harrassing them about the Whales (I don't believe in co-incidences). However, the current blood-thirst and chaos in Lebanon is making Iraq look stable, secure and connected to the outside world in comparison, as well as democratic.
2) This Israeli escalation is not indicative of an overall escalation, as Arab forces that were to attack in Iraq will be diverted to attack in Israel and surrounds.
3) Syria and Iran may become more vulnerable to attack, and the diplomatic cost of doing so seems to have lessened.