26 April 2017
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President Obama’s former national security adviser warned Wednesday that Iranian leaders have effectively turned Iraq into a “client state” and are bent on exploiting the regional war against the Sunni Muslim Islamic State group to promote their own brand of Shiite extremism throughout the Middle East. “Iran’s grand strategy entails consolidating the hold it has gained in Iraq — a grip it seeks to tighten, directly and through proxies — and by stoking the sectarian fires,” said retired Marine Corps…

Iraq in Pieces Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:57

American leaders contemplating Iraq have made a habit of substituting unpleasant realities with rosy assessments based on questionable assumptions. In 1991, after the Gulf War, the George H. W. Bush administration hoped that Iraqis would rise up against Saddam Hussein and encouraged them to do so, only to abandon them to the Republican Guard. In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, officially embracing regime change and transferring millions of dollars to an Iranian-backed convicted embezzler, Ahmed Chalabi.…

Is Iran’s strategy in Iraq adrift? Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:02

Russia may have thrown Iran a lifeline in Syria, but Putin’s aid only obscures larger problems for Tehran’s policies in the region. In particular, Iran’s policy in Iraq and its strategy against the Islamic State (ISIS) are under severe pressure. It is not clear the Islamic Republic has a good way forward. Tehran’s activities and policies in Iraq and the Levant remain largely under Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani’s direction. Soleimaini had been riding high ever…

Obama’s Messy Iraq Intelligence Scandal Friday, 18 September 2015 22:34

It’s happening again. A White House fumbling with the violent mess of Iraq finds itself surrounded by mounting accusations that it’s played dirty games with intelligence. A Pentagon facing charges that its analysts have skewed assessments on Iraq to tell top policymakers what they want to hear, rather than what is really happening in that troubled country. If this sounds terribly familiar, it should. Only a dozen years after the George W. Bush White House was buffeted by allegations that…
Ali Mamouri writes this week, “The July 16 killing of Muntazar al-Hilfi by police in al-Madina, north of Basra, during a protest for improved services was redolent of the death of Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi on Jan. 4, 2011.” Al-Hilfi’s killing energized anti-corruption protests in central and southern Iraq, which have continued in some form until now. While religious authorities in Najaf, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have backed the demonstrations, Mamouri observes, “It was striking that Iranian official authorities and Iraqi parties known for…
On July 14, 2015, Iran and six world powers agreed to a landmark nuclear deal in Vienna. The controversial agreement, if ratified, will lift international sanctions on Iran in exchange for a credible Iranian commitment to end its quest for a nuclear bomb. Considering the extensive debate on the agreement's merits, the lack of attention paid to the deal's impact on Iraq is striking. The Iran nuclear deal will likely affect Iraq more than any other country, due to Iran's…

What are the lessons from Iraq for Iran? Tuesday, 11 August 2015 01:38

Last week President Obama defended the Iran agreement in part by dismissing its critics as people who supported the war in Iraq 13 years ago – “the same people who seem to have no compunction with being repeatedly wrong,” he said. Politicians and pundits should be judged on their records. If you think my support of the Iraq war in 2002 invalidates any other argument I will ever make, then you shouldn’t read my column. It doesn’t seem to be…
BAGHDAD — Tens of thousands of angry Iraqis took to the streets to demand changes to their government Friday in a potent challenge to Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi from his own Shiite constituency, including the country’s powerful militias.Chanting crowds thronged Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square and jammed the main streets around it, some calling on Abadi to fire corrupt ministers and others urging more sweeping changes to the system of governance installed after the U.S. invasion of 2003.The protest was the…
Hans von Sponeck: We appeal, first and foremost,  to the conscience of governments and  civil society but also to their legal-mindedness not to accept  impunity any longer.Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) is participating in the review of Iraq at the 55th session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT), from 27 July to 14 August 2015.GICJ has submitted to the Committee its shadow report on torture in Iraq expressing its grave concern about the continued and widespread use…
A number of former and current military leaders who were in power when all U.S. troops left Iraq are saying today that the complete exit left the door open for the Islamic State’s land grab. The assessment comes from the Army chief of staff, a former Marine commandant, a former U.S. Central Command chief, a former defense secretary and, privately, from the officer now running the war in Iraq against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS.The question…
US Army general who spent most years in Iraq condemns 'frustrating' pullout against his advice that led to rise of ISIS. The US Army general who spent the most time in Iraq on Tuesday criticized US President Barack Obama's handling of the chaotic country, warning that the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) has been due to failed American policies.Speaking to Fox News just weeks before retiring, US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno spoke about his four years of…

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