Shanghai Co-operation Council emerges as rival to West
A week ago, on Welsh golfing greens, President Obama stood with Nato family and friends to announce the formation of a "core coalition" to tackle the growing threat posed by Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria.
Then, on the day he announced the shape of his new strategy, leaders in another alliance were gathering in a presidential pine forest in Dushanbe for the annual summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Council (SCO).
Some of the SCO's most powerful players meeting in the Tajik capital have the ability to strengthen, or scupper, some of Washington's best-laid plans in Iraq and Syria.
For some, this widening alliance in the East is an antidote to Nato.
Observer nations like Iran, India and Pakistan are keen to become formal members of a bloc forged 13 years ago between Russia, China and newly independent Central Asian states.
Israelis along the Gaza Border keep calm and carry on
For Dov Hartuv, 78, the Gaza border is so close - only 800m from his home on the Israeli kibbutz of Nahal Oz. And the year 2000 seems so far away.
"My wife and I went on a guided tour of Gaza in 2000 with a Gazan guide," he recalls, with obvious warmth, when we meet in his dusty desolate community which emptied of residents when this latest war began.
No place to hide for children of war in Gaza and Syria
The conflicts in Syria and Gaza are having a a devastating impact on the lives of children. The BBC's Lyse Doucet who has been following the lives of six Syrian children, and who has just returned from reporting in Gaza, reflects on how war will shape the futures of young people there for decades to come.
"When you see it on TV, it's not like it is in real life."
Gaza crisis: Shejaiya assault defines grimmest day
Every day, for 12 days, the tally of casualties was grim, the details often grisly.
Every day, the rockets kept soaring in a trail of white vapour out of Gaza and Israeli air strikes pounded this blighted sliver of land along the Mediterranean.
Karzai rules out Iraq scenario in Afghanistan
Both Iraq and Afghanistan were the target of major US-led wars, both are besieged by strong insurgencies, and both are still struggling to establish solid institutions.
In Kabul this week, Afghans kept bringing up the dramatic developments unfolding in Iraq, where radical Islamist fighters stunned many with their lightning sweep into key cities.
Afghan elections: Voting for a better future
As Afghanistan stands at a crucial turning point that will determine its political future, its past still stubbornly lingers.
"We met nearly 30 years ago, during President Najibullah's time," a smiling police officer reminds me as we approach the main command centre in the heavily fortified Interior Ministry in Kabul.
The women reporters determined to cover World War Two
Seventy years ago, a group of American women journalists made history when they covered the greatest story of their generation. They called them the D-Day Dames.
"It is necessary that I report on this war," writer Martha Gellhorn fumed in an angry letter to military authorities. "I do not feel there is any need to beg as a favour for the right to serve as the eyes for millions of people in America who are desperately in need of seeing, but cannot see for themselves."
Syrian exams bring Yarmouk students siege respite
In a shattered space where even basics like bread and medicine are missing, one of life's most normal routines has finally been allowed.
At the 11th hour, safe passage was agreed to enable 120 teenagers to leave the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, in southern Damascus, to sit their exams.
Syria crisis: Rebuilding lives in the void left in Homs
It was, for many long months, one of the darkest corners of one of the worst battles of the war.
Besieged and embattled, the Old Quarter lay just beyond a desolate no-man's land around Homs's iconic new Clock Tower. The damaged edifice no longer keeps time, but it marks a defining time, still standing tall in the midst of rubble and ruin.