"If the outside world doesn’t come back to vigorously help stem the tide, Yemen may formally crumble into a failed state, with militias seizing more power and full scale war erupting among rival powers on multiple fronts," writes Robin Wright.
"The fact is, we are living in an age of jihadi terror. And the threat and likelihood of more attacks will be with us for years to come," writes Aaron David Miller.
"It's easy to miss blips on the digital radar when there are so many, but if our miscalculation about the kinetic capabilities of ISIS is any measure, we ought to pay attention to the CENTCOM hack," writes Meg King.
"The fight for the unity of Yemen will be both a struggle for the survival of the present Yemeni state and a battle over control of resources," writes Senior Scholar Amal Mudallali.
"Perhaps a more immediate fear, however, is that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula–-a group that has demonstrated its intent and ability to strike in the West—will carry out its own attacks, much like the one in Paris this week," writes Michael Kugelman.
"The attack on Charlie Hebdo is another confirmation of a long war. And, like the Cold War was to the 20th century, that struggle is likely to be a defining feature of the 21st," writes Aaron David Miller.
President Barack Obama may be entering the lame-duck phase on domestic policy, but 2015 could be a defining year for his foreign policy. Here are three urgent tasks in the Middle East according to Robin Wright.
2014 was not a good one for women in the Middle East. Political turmoil, civil war, the rise of Islamic State, clampdowns by autocratic governments, and the ineffectiveness of reformist governments all contributed to unfavorable, even worsening, conditions for women, writes Haleh Esfandiari.
"After four years of the phenomenon once optimistically dubbed the Arab Spring, the changes that have roiled those lands seem to have validated Robert Penn Warren’s quip that history, like nature, rarely jumps–and when it does, it usually jumps backward," writes Aaron David Miller.
"As I looked through annual rundowns of the Big Stories of 2014, I found three types of conflicts that were not on many lists but should be. Each, for different reasons, represents a trend worth paying attention to," writes Robin Wright.