Free Syrian Army fighter walks past ambulance
Free Syrian Army fighter walks past ambulanceReuters

Major media outlets’ reviews of 2012 and predictions for big news stories in 2013 indicate that Israel finally may have to spend less time defending itself as the Palestinian Authority’s demands become old hat and pale in the shadows of events in Syria and Iran.

The Council of Foreign Relations, considered to be the most influential American think tank, predicted that the Middle East is a major issue for the Obama administration but not because of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.  

James M. Lindsay, the head of CFR's Studies Program, wrote that the continuing conflict in Syria is upsetting to stability in the region and Iran is approaching a "red line" on its ability to make nuclear weapons.

He said the Syrian civil war threatens to spill over into Jordan and Lebanon. Lindsay also wrote, “We should always worry about Egypt, because Egypt is the most populous, most influential country in the Arab world. The big questions are whether or not Egypt will be able to make its democracy stick, and secondly, what kind of democracy the Egyptians are going to have.”  

Most significant was the absence of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in his report.

Similarly, the London Guardian reported Monday that the major news stories in the Middle East in 2013 will be elections in Iran, without any mention of the PA.

Iran will stage presidential elections in June at a time when the economy may be on the verge of collapse due to American-backed sanctions because of Iran’s refusal to cooperate with United Nations nuclear watchdog officials.

 Ahmadinejad cannot run for office again. But the fate of Tehran’s nuclear weapons program actually is in the hands of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on all state matters and enjoys a job for life.

The Guardian cited Israel as a source of news but only in regards to the January 22 elections for the next Knesset, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to form another government coalition.

“There are two key questions for his next term,” the newspaper wrote. “ First, whether he orders a unilateral Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities; and second, whether he makes a serious effort to address the calcified peace process with the Palestinians or continues his strategy of talking about talks while expanding settlements.”

Abbas and his strategy of bypassing previous agreements in order to achieve his stated aim of forming a new Arab country alongside a shrunken Israel and less official aim of taking over all of Israel are beginning to get stale for the media. His unstated aim has been gaining more attention with the PA and his Fatah party’s more open admission, through official logos and textbooks, that the map of Israel really is the map of a future “Palestine".

Reporters covering the US State Department have been mocking the “peace process,” and mainstream media have begun giving up on Abbas, or Netanyahu’s, real intentions to reach an agreement.

In a review of the top Middle East  stories in 2012, The Atlantic focused on Syria, where the civil war  has sucked in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, the Gulf States, Iran, and the U.S. in various ways and] according to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, it now threatens to draw in Israel as well.”

 The Miami Herald noted the Hamas missile war on Israel, and the response of Israel in the Pillar of Defense operation, as one of the top stories of the year. The “peace process” was not mentioned.

The Associated Press’ review of top stories were almost  entirely domestic-related in contrast with 2011, when the top stories were the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Japan's earthquake/tsunami disaster, and the Arab Spring uprisings.

This past year, the only international story that was in the top 10 was the civil war in Syria, The only international issue in the top 10 was Syria, which also was the only Middle East issue mentioned on the MetroUS website.