UN envoy raises 'alarm' about Mideast

UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen raised an "alarm" about the situation in the Middle East, warning that the region faces the possibilities of full-scale war, a fresh effort to contain the current violence, or energetic diplomacy to try to bring lasting peace. "The picture which emerges is very dark, and apparently getting darker," he told reporters on Monday. "So there are reasons for real concerns in the international community." Roed-Larsen, the current UN envoy for Lebanon-Syria issues who for many years was the top UN Mideast envoy, said "the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East has changed fundamentally over a few years." "A few years ago, as it had been over many, many decades, the center of gravity for all the conflicts were the Israeli-Arab conflicts," he said. "Now, there seems to be four epicenters of conflict in the region with their own dynamics, the Iraqi issues, the Iranian issues, the Syrian-Lebanese issues, and of course the heart of hearts, the traditional conflict, the Palestinian-Israeli issue."