As President Barack Obama begins his second term, he faces a series of Middle East challenges far more daunting than when he began his presidency in 2009. These problems include:
•what to do about the Arab-Israeli conflict, with peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority still frozen;
•whether to intervene in the civil war in Syria, which has now claimed more than 60,000 lives, with the opposition to the Assad regime becoming more Islamist;
•how to manage relations with an increasingly Islamist regime in Egypt in such a way that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty is not endangered;
•how to handle an Iraq on the verge of multiple civil wars, one between...