http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6328753.stmAmidst the barrage of bad news from Iraq, the growing chaos in Gaza, instability in Lebanon and uncertainty in Israel, one thing emerges clearly.
The US invasion of Iraq and its quest to spread democracy throughout the region has had a series of profound but unintended consequences. Of these, the most important is the rise of Iran.
Washington's destruction of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan and its toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq served to destroy Tehran's main strategic competitors.
For a brief moment Iran too feared US intervention. It was at this moment that Tehran appeared most willing to explore talks.
But the Americans' increasing problems in Iraq showed that for the Iranians the cloud of US ascendancy did indeed have a silver-lining.