Iraq

  • A Shift in Iraqi Politics: An Opposition Emerges

    Since 2003, the principle of multi-party consensus has defined Iraq’s political system. This formula was deemed best for Iraq during a transition period, and it relied on the existence of broad sectarian and ethnic coalitions. In practice, this consensus represented the major Shia and Kurdish political parties while Sunnis fit into the mold as best they could or were left out. Though consensus rule certainly gave a wider group of political actors a stake in the system, it also blurred the lines of responsibility and made accountability impossible. Cracks are now emerging in the consensus model, with coalitions fragmenting and a historic step in Iraq’s democratic transition: the appearance of an opposition party.


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  • Parliament Voted to Complete Iraq’s Cabinet: What’s Next?

    Since the ratification of Iraq’s constitution in 2005, the government formation has been an excruciatingly protracted process. While the constitution does not require a specific distribution of appointments by sect or ethnicity, the multitude of political blocs and the ethno-sectarian interest networks forced an allotment of cabinet positions among the diverse components of the Iraqi population. While inclusive governance is an admirable goal, it can be a formula for failure when merit is sacrificed for the sake of meeting ethno-sectarian quotas. With only a few exceptions, Iraqi ministries have been treated as fiefdoms to be controlled by the ministers or their parties and face little accountability or transparency requirements. Even in the few cases when ministers have resigned—or were removed from office for proven corruption or mismanagement of public funds—they later returned to senior political positions or left the country unscathed. For this reason, filling cabinet posts has turned into ferocious horse-trading among influential Iraqi leaders. 


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  • Will Iraq Have an Uprising after Sixteen Years of Political, Social, and Economic Disillusionment?

    Sixteen years have gone by since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the country is still suffering from major unresolved political, economic, and social issues. Even the most pessimistic people in Iraq did not think that the situation would be this dire.


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  • Borzou Daragahi in the Financial Times: Iraq divided: Borzou Daragahi on the chances of partition


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  • How to Counter Iran’s Proxies

    In early May, the United States deployed an aircraft carrier group, a bomber wing, and a Patriot Battery to the Gulf region reportedly in response to threats by Iran and its proxies. At the time, the potential for escalation seemed high with the Air Force flying “deterrence missions” and Iranian military leaders referring to the aircraft carrier as a “target.” Shortly after the United States announced the deployment, four ships—including two Saudi oil tankers and a Norwegian ship—were damagedand intelligence reporting of possible attacks prompted US Embassy Baghdad to evacuate non-essential personnel. In fact, after the evacuation, a rocket landed less than a mile from the embassy compound that appeared to have been launched from a Shia-dominated area of Baghdad. Around the same time, Houthi rebels in Yemen, who receive support from Iran, used drones to attack an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia and may be responsible for recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.


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  • Iraq: In the Crossfire of a Potential US-Iran Conflict?

    Rising tensions between the United States and Iran are causing grave concern in Iraq. Iraq’s security and political stability will suffer greatly if this tension erupts into a violent conflict. Iraq has only just snatched a difficult victory from the jaws of an existential terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and is coping with post-conflict challenges that range from the reconstruction of destroyed cities—where more than a million internally displaced people are still unable to return to their homes—to the rebuilding of its battered economy and the revival of its energy, agriculture, education, housing, transportation, and healthcare sectors. If a new conflict erupts in the region, it will complicate the situation for Iraq in some unimaginable ways, even if Iraq is not directly involved.
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  • Nabeel Khoury quoted in DW: Iraq walks Iran-US tightrope as tensions escalate


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  • El-Gamal joins Al-Jazeera to Discuss the Return of ISIS Fighters to their Countries of Origin


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  • Kadhim Quoted in The Arab Weekly on the Challenges of Rebuilding Iraq


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  • Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Lure Iraq From Iran

    A Saudi economic delegation visited Iraq on April 3, seeking to promote the expansion of diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries—and to give Iraq an alternative to growing Iranian ties. 

    This was the second meeting of the Iraqi-Saudi Coordination Council, which held an initial meeting in 2017. The Saudis offered a $1 billion loan for the creation of a sports complex to be known as Sport City. The council also announced the establishment of consular centers for visa services in Baghdad and two other Iraqi cities.

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