The abrupt upheaval in Iraq’s leadership ranks is the greatest in its history as well as in the annals of the entire Middle East: from a single, all-powerful sovereign to a litany of rulers, leaders, and claimants to the throne; from the one and only Ba’th party to a vast array of parties, factions, and organizations. This essay analyzes the causes and consequences of this earthquake in Iraq and portrays the new elites which ascended to power. It argues that from the dawn of its existence, the Iraqi state’s various regimes and leaders have endeavored to establish a stable polity that could boast of internal unity and a supra-sectarian allegiance with a measure of historical continuity but failed to do so. Consequently, the question that begs asking is whether the new elites will succeed where their predecessors have failed.
This article is based on a paper presented at the June 8-9, 2009 conference entitled “Israel and the Arab States: Parallel Interests, Relations, and Strategies,” jointly held in Jerusalem by the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. The article discusses Israeli-Iraqi relations in the post-Saddam era, arguing that Iraq has distanced itself from its traditional radicalism and adopted a more pragmatic and moderate posture. Still, close ties between Iran and Iraqi Shi’a groups in particular threaten the chances for normalization between Jerusalem and Baghdad, while the U.S. ability or willingness to challenge Iran on this matter is limited. Also discussed is the positive Kurdish-Israeli relationship and areas of potential cooperation. At the same time, however, there exist Kurdish fears of negative reactions from non-Kurdish Iraqis and the Arab world and Israeli fears of antagonizing Turkey and jeopardizing its strategic partnership with it.
The Iran-Iraq War was one of the longest in the 21st century, as well as one of the most fruitless. A border dispute ballooned into one of the longest conventional wars of the twentieth century. This article is a study of the strategy and tactics that contributed to the war’s inability to accomplish the goals of either side. Three factors explaining the long duration will be discussed: military ineptitude, political and ideological motivations, and geopolitical influences.
PASSING THE BATON: AN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TAKES ON THE CHALLENGE OF IRAQ Kenneth M. Pollack* This article discusses the current situation in Iraq and U.S. policy on that country. It discusses current plans for a U.S. withdrawal and Iraqi politics, putting them also in the context of the likely policy of the Obama administration […]
Volume 12, No. 3 – September 2008, Total Circulation 25,000 Article 3 of 7 WOMEN IN THE NEW IRAQ Judith Colp Rubin* *The following article is an extract from Barry Rubin (ed.), Iraq After Saddam (Sharpe, forthcoming). Iraqi women once enjoyed more civil and social rights than many of their sisters in other […]
Volume 12, No. 2 – June 2008, Total Circulation 25,000 Article 5 of 7 JAPAN’S GULF POLICY AND RESPONSE TO THE IRAQ WAR Shirzad Azad* This article suggests that Japan’s staunch support for the United States over the course of the Iraq War was substantially influenced by its foreign policy toward the Persian […]