General Petraeus and the Question of Torture

September 15, 2021

The end of the US engagement in Afghanistan has produced a moment of reckoning for the nation. Everything to do with that war will inevitably be reviewed by commentators. Its origins in the 9/11 attacks of 2001 are already the focus of everyone’s attention. So is its crucial role as the intended...

Is Operation Enduring Freedom Doomed to Endure Forever?

September 08, 2021

Those were heady days in the US stock market. I would wake up by 5 am and watch CNBC before the stock market opened for trading at 6:30 am Pacific time. It was no different on the morning of September 11, 2001. Little did I know that catastrophic things were about to happen that would change the...

Can Iraq’s New Foreign Policy Approach Succeed?

October 30, 2019

Since October 2018, when the new Iraqi government took office, President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi highlighted that the war-torn country was never again to be involved in regional disputes and that it was time for a new political order. President Saleh defines Iraq's future...

Will Iraq Realign Toward Saudi Arabia in 2018?

January 17, 2018

Saudi Arabia is focusing not only on forging political ties with Iraq, but also on strengthening bilateral trade and economic links. Since King Salman ascended to the throne three years ago, Saudi foreign policy has become increasingly muscular, underscored by the ongoing crises in Yemen and...

Independence is the Last Option for the Kurds

September 24, 2017

The Kurds are unlikely to back down unless they receive an alternative deal, but this is unlikely to come from Baghdad. The year was 1639. For the first time in their history, the Kurds of present-day Iran were separated from their brethren due to a treaty signed by the Ottoman and Safavid...

Saudi Arabia Engages With Iraqi Shias

August 01, 2017

Saudi Arabia is getting closer to Iraq in a bid to curtail the influence of Iran. With the Islamic State (IS) on the ropes in Iraq, Saudi Arabia is forging ties to Iraqi Shia leaders and offering to help fund reconstruction of Mosul and other predominantly Sunni Muslim cities, which were...

The World This Week: Is It the End of the Islamic State?

July 16, 2017

Even as Iraq’s prime minister struts around Mosul, fresh troubles lie ahead unless reform, reconciliation and reconstruction succeed. This week, the Trump family saga rolled on. After Ivanka, a true Americana princess, sat briefly on daddy’s throne at the G20 summit, it is her brother’s...

The Fate of Iraq’s Indigenous Communities

January 25, 2017

The battle for Mosul will very likely push Iraq’s indigenous populations to the fringes of society. Remember who the US military first aided when American warplanes joined the battle against the Islamic State (IS) in 2014? It wasn’t the Iraqi government. It was a religious minority known as...

Iraq: Instability to Persist After the Fall of Mosul

January 12, 2017

The eventual fall of Mosul will mark a significant victory for the Iraqi government and a major defeat for the Islamic State, though the group’s supporters will continue to launch terrorist attacks. On January 8, Iraq’s elite counterterrorism troops reached the eastern bank of the Tigris...

Mosul is Pivotal in US Counterterrorism Strategy

January 09, 2017

Long-term consequences could abound if the US does not strike a balance in Iraq. A coordinated attempt by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Kurdish Peshmerga forces supported by US-led coalition air power to liberate Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, from control of the Islamic State (IS) began...

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