28 September 2021
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Iraq elections: The elusive pursuit of reform Thursday, 23 September 2021 15:32

Iraq’s parliamentary elections on 10 October will be a referendum between the established elites who have prevailed since 2003 and seek to preserve the status quo, and outsiders from a protest movement who seek to reform the system. The vote will be to elect 329 lawmakers for Iraq’s unicameral assembly among more than 3,200 candidates. But amid apathy and disdain for Iraq’s political elites, low turnout is likely, as was the case in the 2018 elections.  With a low turnout, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s coalition would presumably…
A recent article in Foreign Policy by Alia Brahimi suggests that the U.S.-led war on terrorism was a failure and that the poorly managed and chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan has led to a weakening of U.S. power and leadership. While well written, the piece ignores some realities on the ground in the Middle East. In Iraq, there is a budding, though admittedly fragile, representative form of government. One that has had several successful elections that were relatively peaceful. There is no…
KARBALA, Iraq — One night in May, Samira Abbas Kadhim was up late, waiting for her son. She poked her head out of the gate of their small house, looking for him down the narrow street. Five minutes later, as she was in the kitchen, he was shot dead half a block away. Her son, Ehab al-Wazni, was one of dozens of anti-government protest leaders believed to have been killed by militia fighters and security forces since the demonstrations escalated…

The War on Terror Was Corrupt From the Start Tuesday, 14 September 2021 05:03

The war in Afghanistan wasn’t a failure. It was a massive success — for those who made a fortune off it. Consider the case of Hikmatullah Shadman, who was just a teenager when American Special Forces rolled into Kandahar on the heels of Sept. 11. They hired him as an interpreter, paying him up to $1,500 a month — 20 times the salary of a local police officer, according to a profile of him in The New Yorker. By his late…
Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Following the disastrous U.S. capitulation and withdrawal from Afghanistan, handing victory to the brutal Taliban, there are growing fears that President Joe Biden may also withdraw the American military totally from Iraq. The lightning advance of the Taliban across Afghanistan caught the United States and the world by surprise. They control every part of the country, including the remote region of Panjshir province in the Hindu Kush mountains north of the Afghan capital Kabul, which finally fell on Monday. The…
As Afghans grapple with fear and uncertainty in the wake of the U.S. military pullout from their country, Iraqis are beginning to wonder if it will be their turn next. The Biden administration, doubling and tripling down on the president’s defense of his Afghanistan withdrawal, has been deploying Washington’s current catchphrase, “forever wars,” as well as invoking old shibboleths about the “national interest.” Pursuing the latter, so the theory goes, requires ending the former. Iraq, where the U.S. military presence is…
Iraq made a move to unite the Muslim world, extending an invitation to Shi'ite Islam Iran to join its upcoming Baghdad summit that the country hopes will include Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Islam Gulf allies. This move could represent a major shift in a relationship that has come close to open conflict over the past few years. By inviting both Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi could turn the page on a conflict that has been…
America is on the verge of pulling out its remaining combat troops from a war-torn country, scarred by jihadist violence and hollowed out by endemic corruption. Sound familiar? It’s not Afghanistan, however. The country in question is Iraq, and Washington will be desperate to ensure that (very recent) history doesn’t repeat itself. Joe Biden has said US forces will end their combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year. Iraq’s beleaguered prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi flew to Washington last month to…
Analysts and researchers have urged the federal government in Iraq to take immediate measures to reduce poverty rates in Iraq, while stressing the need to achieve justice in the distribution of wealth. Economic expert Abul-Hasan Al-Musawi explained: "The poverty rate in Iraq has reached 42 per cent, according to a statement issued by the Federal Minister of Planning." He noted: "One of the main reasons for the surging rates of poverty is the lack of justice in the distribution of wealth." Al-Musawi…
AGHDAD—The spot where Ehab al-Wazni was gunned down is just out of reach of the security cameras that project onto a TV screen in the corner of his family’s living room. His mother Samira casts a nervous glance at the screen whenever the sound of an engine echoes down the narrow alleyway that leads to their house in the Iraqi city of Karbala. “Why did you kill him? What did he do to you? Did he hurt you? He did nothing wrong,”…
WASHINGTON — As the Afghan capital, Kabul, teetered in the face of a relentless onslaught by Taliban forces, the first contingents of U.S. Marines tasked with rescuing Americans and others were set to arrive in Afghanistan over the weekend, administration officials said Friday. The urgency of the new mission was underlined by fierce Taliban advances that have startled the world as diplomats face rising regional instability and a widening humanitarian crisis. By Friday, Taliban fighters, who are seizing U.S.-funded military equipment as they roll, seemingly unchallenged, across the…
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