Iraq at a crucial moment (Part 2)
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s to-do list reads like Mission Impossible. Staff his cabinet with honest officials; rebuild war-torn Sunni areas in the north; placate an angry Shia south that is desperately short of water and power; deal with Kurdish demands; reintegrate Iranian-backed militias into civilian life; balance carefully between Iran and the U.S. He must do all this without a secure parliamentary majority or even a solid support base. Mr. Abdul Mahdi’s position as an honest broker gives him great strength, but if he fails, Iraq could become Libya.
Iraq at a crucial moment (Part 1)
Iraq’s new prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, was reportedly hand-picked at meeting in Beirut by the leaders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and Hezbollah. Yet the man they chose is far from a radical. Close examination of Mr. Abdul Mahdi’s career shows him to be an experienced, honest and gutsy politician, friendly to the U.S. and hardly in Tehran’s pocket. The task he faces is gargantuan, but Mr. Abdul Mahdi has hidden strengths.
Trump’s options in the Afghan-Pakistan divide
The complicated task of stabilizing Afghanistan is made even more complex by the support Pakistan and other countries give the Taliban. The United States will have to navigate this web of interests and alliances carefully. An increase in American troop levels could deter some of the players in the region from destabilizing the country. For now, that scenario seems likely.
Iraq: between democracy and failed state
Iraqi democracy has been more or less written off by the West. Combating its political gridlock, sectarianism and corruption will be harder than defeating Daesh. The best way Baghdad can start solving these problems is to strike a deal to retake Mosul.
Global trends: players and paths for Islamic State (part 2)
As Islamic State begins to lose ground in Syria and Iraq, regional and global powers are trying to carve out their own spheres of influence. The struggle is less military than political, and will hinge on negotiations to establish workable solutions, federal and otherwise, in both countries. But managing the endgame over the next 12-18 months will be tricky, and er...
ISIS: Its origins, strategy and prospects
ISIS has expanded its influence in Syria and Iraq and risen with speed to terrifying power in its efforts to resurrect an Islamic state across the entire Fertile Crescent and into Africa and Asia. But the strategy of ISIS, one of the wealthiest and most violent jihadist groups in history, has led to the start of its undoing. Its aspirations to rule are becoming inc...
The rise of the Kurds could define new shape of Middle East
The war with ISIS has given Iraqi Kurdistan the opportunity to demonstrate its strength, order and cohesiveness. What the Kurds have achieved in Iraq is permanent. Iraqi Kurdistan will never again be subservient to Baghdad. This leaves not only Iraq, but the government of Turkey concerned about what a new Kurdish political entity might mean. ...
ISIS campaign in Iraq poses major threat to Europe
A coalition of disgruntled Iraqi army officers and extreme jihadist terrorists sweeping through Iraq will last for as long as the country has no effective and inclusive government. Their actions will impact regional security and stability as Iraq’s Shia government continues to ignore the force and wishes of its Sunni population. Continued political sectarianism cou...
Rampant corruption and sectarian interests are destroying Iraq
The seizure of Iraq’s second largest city Mosul and other cities in northern Iraq by the Islamist terror group ISIS has seen a million refugees flee the violence. This is just the latest chapter in the story of Iraq as a failed state with little hope under the current corrupt regime. CORRUPTION in Iraq is endemic. It is e...
Iraq’s struggle against poverty and violence despite its oil wealth
Iraq has huge oil reserves but almost a quarter of its population lives in poverty. Infrastructure improvements could boost the economy but violence and terrorism is deterring outside contractors. More than 1,000 people died in the escalating violence in April 2014 and the finger of blame is pointing towards both Sunni extremist terrorism and government forces. ...