President Obama may know who his friends are, but spotting his enemies is growing harder by the day.
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The evolving crisis in Iraq has highlighted the tangled knot of Middle East politics for the White House, which is struggling to chart out a foreign policy course in a region where trouble looms on all sides.

The situation stands in stark contrast to the days when Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq with a heavy hand, or when the Taliban and al Qaeda were targeted after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

Today, in Iraq and in other trouble spots like Syria and Russia and the Ukraine, the picture is muddier, vexing both the Obama administration and critics who are offering up conflicting policy prescriptions.