If the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden could soon be elected president of the United States. Internationally, there is no shortage of leaders hoping to see Mr Trump become a one-term president, putting an end to America’s experiment with uncontrolled chaos in government so that business as usual can once again resume.Continue reading
In Iraq’s cities, the streets are full of demonstrators, and the country is convulsed by the violence inflicted upon those who protest against its dysfunctional state.
The violence is attributed to the Iraqi state, to killers among the militias which dominate Iraqi national life, and to agents of Iranian influence, whose decades-long role in influencing Iraqi politics has been increasingly exposed in recent months, and clearly unpopular among Iraqis. Continue reading
The story of Iraq’s militias is contentious. These forces were undoubtedly significant in the country’s recent fighting – against the Islamic State and against Kurdish forces after the Kurdistan region’s referendum on independence in 2017. Continue reading
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
In some ways the Islamic State (ISIS) seemed to be a perfect enemy. Its initial success was so shocking, its modus operandi so brutal, that it focused minds across the world. The creation of a violent, theocratic statelet threatened not only the innocents within its areas of operation, but by implication every state. ISIS seemed a common enemy par excellence. Continue reading
As Iraq begins recovering from its war against the Islamic State (ISIS), attention is shifting towards the country’s legislative elections, scheduled for May, and the possible political alliances that could emerge ahead of the vote. Continue reading
Whatever else he is, Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, is at the very least appropriately named. The élan with which he recently wrote about the American campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) would be worthy of the protagonist of any Hollywood Western. Continue reading
When the Islamic State (ISIS) surged across Iraq in 2014, the Iraqi state and its army buckled. Iraqi forces retreated in disorder. Soldiers were killed outright; many were captured and subsequently executed. This presaged a national crisis. Continue reading
Despite the rhetoric, the campaign against the Islamic State group (IS) is not over. The international coalition is sounding almost triumphalist, giving developments a sunny gloss and frequently repeating claim that it is ‘defeating Daesh’.
This is true in a way, and success in one aspect – the protracted war which has pushed IS out of many cities and towns in Syria and Iraq – cannot be denied. Continue reading
In less than a month the fortunes of Iraqi Kurdistan, its leaders and inhabitants have reversed.
Iraqi Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence and optimism appeared to reign. The referendum, however, brought complications and immediate repercussions and illuminated systemic problems within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), including political and economic dysfunction and general social malaise. Continue reading