About Volker Perthes
Volker Perthes is director of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (German Institute for International and Security Affairs / SWP) in Berlin. He has published widely on Iraq and the middle east
Articles by Volker Perthes
The United States is in the middle of an intense series of discussions, hearings and reports about the future of its military forces in Iraq. Each assessment of the current predicament carries some implication for possible ways forward. But the unfolding pattern of events in Iraq is not a matter for the US alone: whatever happens in that country will profoundly affect the lives of Iraqis themselves and people and states in the neighbouring region.
The desperate condition of people in the Gaza strip and the continuing violence across its border with Israel, the unsettled political condition of Lebanon, and the internal divisions among Palestinians and Israelis, all highlight the gulf between current realities in the middle east in the first weeks of 2008 and the achievement of a peace settlement that could transform them. But these events too are only part of a more varied picture, and it may be timely to explore the realistic steps that could be taken in this - perhaps decisive - year to achieve such a settlement.