The latest al-Qaida atrocities in Iraq show how high the stakes are when it comes to Middle East politics -from an editorial in the Morning Star.

Taking the wrong decisions, backing the wrong movements and governments, failing to take the right initiatives can often have devastating consequences for the people of the region.
This is why the drive by the US, Britain, Nato, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaida to topple the Assad regime in Syria is potentially so disastrous.
Should they prove successful, many Syrians who at present support the armed rebellion against Assad may rue the day that military means were adopted to pursue their grievances. As the German poet Goethe almost put it, "Beware of what you wish for..."
The al-Qaida organisation that orchestrated the bloody mass murder of soldiers, government officials and civilians in Iraq last Sunday did not exist in that country before Bush and Blair launched their crusade against Saddam Hussein.
It took advantage of imperialist-induced slaughter and chaos to settle and grow there.
Now that same organisation has sent a message to the Syrian rebels which purports to be one of support.
In truth, however, it is a veiled threat that any failure to replace Assad's secular, constitutional state by one based on Sharia law will incur bloody retribution from Islamic fundamentalists.
Such a scenario will not upset the corrupt Saudi dictatorship too much. It continues to play its duplicitous game of pretending to side with the West in the bogus "war on terror," while using Western arms supplies to encourage its own brand of fundamentalist Islam across the Middle East and north Africa.
But for the likes of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague to continue beating the war drum against Assad appears to be little short of demented. Why do they do it?
Their strategy is set out in the US Project for the New American Century and other US strategic foreign policy plans.
This is to remove all governments in the "Greater Middle East" that stand in the way of Western - and in particular US - imperialist interests.
The region, which stretches from Morocco to Afghanistan, is the world's richest source of future energy supplies and at the heart of numerous vital supply routes, as well as providing military "jump-off" points for Africa, much of Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Of course, popular risings against some of the region's pro-Western despots are not part of the plan.
They complicate matters and carry the risk of installing democratic or theocratic anti-Western and pro-Palestinian governments.
Such rebellions can be crushed in countries such as Qatar and Yemen with scarcely a squeak from the Obamas, Clintons, Camerons and Hagues who pose as champions of freedom.
Particularly nauseating is their affectation of horror that the Assad regime might use chemical weapons against foreign invaders.
Don't US and British politicians threaten to use nuclear weapons to defend their countries from aggression?
Their cynical calculation now is that, like Libya, popular revolt in Syria can be armed, influenced and steered in a pro-Western direction. Then Iran will be next.
However, these machinations not only violate principles of international law and national sovereignty.
They also gamble with the lives of millions of people, plunging them deeper into the pit of civil and sectarian strife, driving them from their homes and even their homelands.
That, for imperialism, is a price worth paying because - as ever - it's the common people who pay it.