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.
The many faces of ISIS
If we want to know what will happen to Islamic State (ISIS) after the death of its first “caliph” and the loss of Mosul and Raqqa, we must first understand what it is. There is not one ISIS, but at least four. Each will require different handling once the caliphate is shattered and scatters.
Understanding Iraq’s Sunni tribes
Iraq’s Sunni tribes form a key part of Iraq’s complicated power structure. The United States found some success in the early 2000s when it allied with them to push back al-Qaeda. Since then, some have been alienated and joined Daesh. Most have not chosen sides. The U.S. will need to bring more into its fold in order to expel Daesh from Iraq.
Saudi Arabia considers how to recast foreign policy and rely less on US
Saudi Arabia’s relations with its Arab neighbours have been troubled since the state was founded in 1932. The kingdom’s territorial expansion, border disputes and export of Wahhabi Islam have all fed fears of Saudi political domination. Now that the decades-long alliance with Washington has cooled and the United States’ security umbrella has been at least partially...
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...
Global impact of Christians fleeing persecution in Iraq and Syria
Christians in Syria and Iraq have played a pivotal role in the development of the countries and their societies over 2,000 years. But they are being driven out by the forces of religious extremism and sectarianism. Their departure is weakening their role as the forces of moderation and dialogue in the Middle East and will add considerably to the woes of Middle East...
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...
Middle East population diversity creates challenges for stable future
A different model of political development and organisation is needed in the Middle East to avoid endless cycles of war and chaos. The conflicts have increased in intensity since the so-called Arab Spring of 2010. One way forward would be to develop ‘cantons’ in Iraq, Syria and Libya to achieve the peaceful coexistence of different minorities. ...
Kurdistan leads the way in expanding Iraq’s oil production
Iraq is being torn by sectarian strife, but its oil revenues serve as a political shock absorber, upholding the present political system. Expansion of oil production is slow and the autonomous region of Kurdistan is proving the most stable environment for Western companies. In the second of a two-part series, Professor Amatzia Baram looks at Iraq’s economy and says...