Of course, conflicts between Sunni and Shia Muslims are not at all new, but it is indeed new as a feature on the regional level in modern times. After all, as long as there were secular-style regimes preaching an all-inclusive Arab nationalist identity, differences between religious communities are subordinated. Once there are Islamist regimes, theology […]
This article discusses the 2006/2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq. It examines to what extent the shift in strategy was responsible for the dramatic drop in violence as well as the implications for U.S. strategy in future conflicts. This article can be found in PDF version here. INTRODUCTION Adopted at the end of […]
In the spring of 2011, Iraq witnessed major protests across the country. This article will address the causes of these demonstrations. It will also discuss the obstacles toward forming a stable government and the nature of sectarianism and corruption in the government. Last, it considers the implications for U.S. policy, particularly concerning the December 2011 […]
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.