After the highs and idealism of 2011, this year felt more like the morning after. In 2012, the "Arab Spring" morphed into the "Syrian Winter".  And the gritty reality of the struggles consuming the region became apparent.In Egypt, Tunisia and Libya Islamists came to power and the struggles of post-revolution and counter-revolutionary forces took hold. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad's forces continue to commit atrocities, and an increasingly powerful armed opposition joined the dirty war.Celebrations of those newly in power were met with protests by those wary of new forms of tyranny.  Historical elections were held, in many places for the first time in decades. But the gun continued to compete with the ballot box in an often uneasy rivalry. If anything defined 2012, it was a year of contradictions and competing power.As fears over the predicted "end of the world" grew, Iran's standoff with Israel and the West persisted.  The Kurds drew ever closer to realizing the dream of a future state promised them by the British almost a century ago with gains in Syria and Iraq and Turkey's assault on PKK members pushing more Kurds into neighboring countries.With each successive uprising in the Arab Spring being more bloody than the last, Iraq became the forgotten conflict. While theoretically, no explosions makes news headlines in Iraq, there was certainly no stalemate, as a steady diet of explosions merged toward the end of year with Sunnis protesting for their share of the new Iraq power-stake. 
Meanwhile, Turkey emerged in the bloody game of Risk that is Middle East politics as a key power broker along with Egypt, where the new President Mohamed Morsi negotiated a quick end to an Israeli assault on Gaza, but at the same time caused no end of hulabaloo back home with his power-play and constitutional conjury.
2012 was a year that revolutions got over the giddy success of 2011, and sobriety set in around the same time as Islamists took power. A scramble for the Middle East ensued as the Syrian conflict intensified  and afflicted the entire region with its geopolitical fallout. Bringing you the year in politics from a region gripped by battles for power.
Share your thoughts on the year past: Was this a good or bad year for the Middle East? Is 2013 likely to solve any persistent issues or power-conflicts?