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Which tyrant will fall next?

The Year of Revolution: As the leaders of Syria and Bahrain cling to power, Patrick Cockburn explains how they have managed to resist the protesters – and wonders whether they can survive another 12 months

As the troops pull out, what kind of Iraq has America left behind?

Not long after the "liberation" of 2003, the US-led coalition was preparing the Iraqi public for their ultimate departure. A television advert showed a bunch of boys in an excited football match, while their parents looked on with fond smiles – the portrait of a happy and contented land. In a swirl of dust, came Western troops in their armoured cars; they stopped beside the young players for a brief exchange of greetings, and then the convoy disappeared into the desert.