Elections are wonderful things. Despite the calculated duplicity which campaigning for the vote requires, and despite their association with politicians, elections remind voters – and observers around the world – that ordinary people, individually and together, can affect the futures of the societies in which they live. Continue reading
The Islamic State (IS) has been militarily defeated in its attempt to create a ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria. Its de facto capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria were wrested from the terror group after long, grinding campaigns fought by local forces with extensive international assistance.
After the rapid capture of Tal Afar and a pocket around Hawija from IS last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that the war against IS was over, that it had been won. Continue reading
An earthquake of 7.3 magnitude struck Iraq and Iran on November 12. It began in the Iraqi area of Halabja but its tremors were felt across the Middle East and its effects were extensive. Continue reading
Iraq’s Kurds have voted overwhelmingly to become independent. More than 90 per cent of those who voted backed secession. This confident margin of victory does not translate into international confidence. The United States repeatedly attempted to dissuade the leaders of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) from having the referendum at all. Continue reading
The northern Iraqi city of Hawija represents the last Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in the country. After the gruelling battle for Mosul and the rapid victory at Tal Afar, the Iraqi state is on the verge of winning its immediate war against ISIS. Hawija and the nearby area are surrounded by Iraq state- and Kurdish-controlled territory, forming what might appear to be a tight seal. Continue reading
The decision by Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to call a referendum on the future of Kurdistan has alarmed the rest of the country and the region. Continue reading
The name Muqtada al-Sadr used to inspire fear. His brand of Shia sectarianism contributed greatly to the turmoil following the deposition of Saddam Hussein in 2003. His militia, the Mahdi Army, fought against the United States and the forces of the reconstituted Iraqi state. It also engaged in street violence and intimidation. Continue reading