'Pakistan probably thinks it does have a bit of leverage because the US does have so much in Afghanistan and wants to get it out relatively quickly,' said Gareth Price.
Mr Chang’s swift and bloody elimination is relatively rare in a country where the leadership, notwithstanding its past authoritarian crackdowns, has tended to remove political opponents with limited fanfare, said John Swenson-Wright.
'Assad is making advances, he has presented himself as a partner with the west in getting rid of his chemical weapons, and is promising elections. With the rising concern over the Islamist factions, and no prospect of outside military intervention, the levers that could be used to remove him are disappearing,' said Jane Kinninmont.
The brutality and swiftness with which Kim Jong-un has acted has also raised concerns that this may reflect real instability at the top of the regime, John Swenson-Wright tells The World Tonight. (8:55)
'It’s a difficult regime to deal with anyway, and when this happens it makes it more difficult to work out who to talk to and what’s going on. It’s another headache for Chinese diplomats dealing with North Korea,' said Tim Summers.
The lengthy description of Jang's supposed wrongdoing – which spanned private profiteering on coal and other natural resources as well as gambling away €4.6 million (£3.9 million) last year – amounted to a risky set of revelations for the leadership of a starving country, said John Swenson-Wright.
The official announcement of the execution of Chang Song-thaek, North Korea's second most prominent official and uncle of Kim Jong-un, is a brutal but potentially politically risky move by Mr Kim to assert his political primacy and a shift towards an increasingly centralised and personalised system of rule, writes John Swenson-Wright.
According to a recent report by Chatham House, instability in the Middle East is the biggest threat to the Arabian Gulf’s fragile food security.