Putting Iraq back together again is going to be quite a feat

The New York Times has a remarkable video feature up today, please go and at least read the accompanying story even if you don’t/can’t watch the video (which includes some very graphic footage). It’s the story of Ali Hussein Kadhim, a Shiʿa and former Iraqi soldier who amazingly survived an IS massacre in Tikrit in… Continue reading Putting Iraq back together again is going to be quite a feat

Mosque attack in Diyala sets back the cause of Iraqi unity

This kind of thing just makes it harder for Baghdad to bring unhappy Sunnis back on side: At least 73 people have been killed after a Shia Muslim armed group opened fire inside an Iraqi Sunni mosque in the village of Bani Wais in the country’s eastern Diyala province, medical sources have said. A security source said bodies had been arriving at the hospital in… Continue reading Mosque attack in Diyala sets back the cause of Iraqi unity

When the media obscures instead of clarifying

This is a pet peeve of mine, but in my opinion it’s a justifiable one. Al-Monitor has a post today about the Iraqi Presidency; the current president is a Kurd, Jalal Talabani, but he’s term-limited and there’s a movement in Iraq’s  Sunni Arab community to see the current Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives,… Continue reading When the media obscures instead of clarifying

Spilling over

In war, and life too I suppose, spillover is sometimes inevitable. For example, it seems like there is no way to keep turmoil in Syria from eventually and unfortunately making its way to Lebanon. The world got a stark reminder of that truism on Friday, when a car bomb killed Mohammad Chatah, a leading Lebanese… Continue reading Spilling over

On Sunni and Shi’i, and living in peace

I’ve been writing a lot about Syria and Iraq, and when I do that I tend to lapse into talking about the “Sunni” and the “Shi’i” because the conflicts going on there have a strong sectarian component (or political components being characterized as sectarian, for the particularly cynical among us), but this kind of broad… Continue reading On Sunni and Shi’i, and living in peace

Biting off more than we can chew in Syria?

Well, we’ve apparently determined that the Syrian government has gassed rebels and civilians, tripping over our president’s red line. In response, America is going to directly involve itself in arming the rebels, presumably the “moderate” rebels because we’ll pretend that there would still be a rebellion at all without its extremist jihadi elements, and we’ll… Continue reading Biting off more than we can chew in Syria?