Middle East update: September 1 2017

In an effort to not be up until 2 AM for a change, I’m going to try wrapping things up early today and see how that goes. I don’t want to say this could be the new normal, but for my own sanity I may start trying to get these updates out a little earlier… Continue reading Middle East update: September 1 2017

Conflict update, January 8 2017

Iraq Iraqi counter-terrorism forces in east Mosul say they’ve reached the eastern bank of the Tigris River. Some Iraqi politicians are claiming that as much as 88 percent of the eastern half of the city has been liberated, which is probably a substantial exaggeration, but it’s impossible to dispute that the offensive has made significant… Continue reading Conflict update, January 8 2017

“Prime Minister of Iraq” must be a pretty crappy job

Paul Ryan just gave up his, ah, dream job to become Speaker of the House today, ending a long national nightmare of media hand-wringing over the fate of the Speakership in the post-John Boehner era. Throughout that hand-wringing, we were treated to the oft-repeated observation that Speaker of the House is the “worst job in… Continue reading “Prime Minister of Iraq” must be a pretty crappy job

Sistani to the rescue?

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is trying to implement a major reconstruction of the Iraqi government, something we talked about here last week. In fact, he’s already reduced the size of his cabinet by a full third, from 33 ministries to 22. To recap, major public protests against basic government incompetence and corruption took place… Continue reading Sistani to the rescue?

The Army That Wasn’t There

When Mosul fell to ISIS in June, lots of theories were put forward about why the Iraqi Army folded so easily despite vastly outnumbering and outgunning its enemies. Lack of training and combat experience was often cited, and with good reason; the decision to basically scrap the existing Iraqi Army and start over from scratch… Continue reading The Army That Wasn’t There

A tale of two vice presidents

In Iraq, new Vice President Nouri al-Maliki (where have I heard that name before?) has been spending time in his new job making life difficult for the guy occupying his old job: Attempts by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to distance himself from the legacy of his predecessor Nuri Al-Maliki have created a rift between… Continue reading A tale of two vice presidents

Maliki out

Looks like he decided not to contest Abadi’s nomination in the courts after all: He said his decision was aimed at preserving the country’s “unity”. “I announce before you today, to ease the movement of the political process and the formation of the new government, the withdrawal of my candidacy in favour of brother Dr… Continue reading Maliki out