Maliki’s Misplaced Fear

600px-Flag_of_Islamic_State_of_Iraq.svg

The flag of the Islamic State of Iraq. The group, linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the March 8th attack on Syrian troops in Iraq. (Photo: http://www.wikipedia.org)

A few days ago the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), a Sunni militant group with links to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the March 8th massacre of 48 Syrian and nine Iraqi soldiers in Iraq’s western province of Anbar. The attack targeted an Iraqi army convoy that was returning Syrian troops who crossed into Iraq to escape rebel fighters. Originally, the operation was attributed the Al-Nusra Front, a Sunni insurgent group in Syria that is also linked to Al-Qaeda and has been labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. government. The reality is that it doesn’t matter if the attack was carried out by Al-Qaeda’s Syrian or Iraqi front. What matters is that the attack is the most glaring sign to date that Syria’s civil war is spilling over into an Iraq that is struggling with increased sectarian tensions and fears of another civil war. Continue reading

Maliki’s Menage-a-Trois

It has not been an easy month for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Domestically, the Basra Provincial Council announced a lawsuit against the national Ministry of Oil and the central government in Baghdad is still locked in arguments with the Kurdistan

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. (www.foxnews.com)

Regional Government (KRG) over the issuance of exploration permits and oil payments. More significantly, the worsening crisis in Syria, continuing talks over an attack on Iran’s nuclear program, and Turkish attacks on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq are testing Maliki’s foreign policy and domestic sovereignty credentials. This week, facing a menage-a-trois of American, Iranian, and Turkish interests in Iraq, Maliki decided to send some powerful messages. Continue reading

The West’s Miscalculated Risk of Iran’s Nuclear Ambition

In light of this week’s readings on the proliferation of weapons in the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear program, I am posting an opinion piece I wrote in December of 2011. Many of the points I raised were mentioned in this weeks readings and I still stand behind my thoughts. Please comment below and continue the discussion. Continue reading

Iraqi Clubs Get Busted

Club goers in Baghdad, 2009. (www.almonitor.com)

September was a sad month for the Iraqi party scene. A recent report from al-Monitor details the forced closing of a number of night clubs in Iraq’s capital city of Baghdad. The report cites the official reasons for the closures to be complaints from local citizens complaining of “drunken people near their homes, stores, and markets”. Security officials also claim that night clubs “promote prostitution and host suspects”. Sound like any clubs you know? Continue reading

Marketing 101 with Prof. Khamenei

This post is an installment in my quest to better understand the religious and ethnic drivers behind the loyalties of Iraqi Shiites and Iraqi Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war. This subject will be presented in the form of a research paper at the end of the semester.

Billboard of Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei in Iraq. (www.uskowioniran.com)

A new symbol of Iranian influence has recently hit the streets of Iraq, billboards of Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A recent article from the Associated Press states that the billboards, adorned with Continue reading