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Many Potential Allies In The Fight Against ISIS Have Already Been Lost

Iraq Map

As many observers have pointed out, one of the keys to defeating ISIS on the ground, especially in Iraq, involves enlisting the support of Sunni tribes that have been alienated by the Iraqi Government. Toward that end, the United States and other powers spent the better part of the summer working on convincing Iraqi political […]

Obama Authorizes 1,500 More U.S. Troops For ISIS Fight

Barack Obama

Mission creep.

Report: Islamic State Training Pilots On Captured Syrian Jets

Obama Syria

Reuters is reporting that groups monitoring the war in Syria are saying that former members of the Iraqi military who have defected to the Islamic State are training pilots using jets captured from the Syrian military: (Reuters) – Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly […]

Air War In Syria Not Exactly Going As Planned

Obama Syria

So far at least, the air strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria do not seem to be having much of an impact.

President Obama’s Misplaced Trust In The “Moderate” Syrian Rebels

Syrian Rebels

After keeping his distance from them for three years, President Obama is placing much misplaced hope in the “moderate” Syrian rebels,

Obama’s Anti-ISIS Coalition Seems To Exist Only In His Mind


Despite the President’s assurances of an international coalition, the rest of the world doesn’t seem all that interested in joining the fight.

Nouri Al-Maliki Agrees To Step Aside

Nouri al-Maliki  Photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has apparently agreed to abandon his bid to stay in power: BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Thursday night said he agreed to relinquish power, state television reported, a move that came after days of crisis in which Mr. Maliki’s deployment of extra security forces around the capital […]

Despite Pressure, Malaki Unwilling To Step Aside In Iraq

Nouri al-Maliki

Iraq continues to appear to be headed toward a political crisis, notwithstanding the fact that everyone seems to be trying to pressure Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step aside: BAGHDAD — Iran’s supreme leader threw his weight behind Iraq’s newly appointed prime minister Wednesday, but incumbent Nouri al-Maliki denounced efforts to oust him as “a […]

No, Obama Isn’t Seeking ‘Regime Change’ in Iraq


The United States is, in fact, doing the exact opposite.

Obama’s Iraq Policy Is Open-Ended, Directionless, And Likely To Fail

Barack Obama

President Obama doesn’t seem to have any idea what he wants to do in Iraq.

U.S. Airstrikes Hit ISIS In Northern Iraq

Iraq Map

For the second time in just over ten years, the United States is involved in military action in Iraq.

It Looks Like Nouri Al-Maliki Has Lost The Kurds, Assuming He Ever Had Them

Iraq Map

Iraq continues to fall apart.

Well, So Much For That Unity Government In Iraq

Iraq Map

At least for now, it doesn’t appear that efforts to form a unity government in Iraq are going anywhere: BAGHDAD — Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the first session of the Iraqi Parliament on Tuesday, imperiling efforts to form a new government in the face of a bitter offensive by Sunni militants. After the […]

ISIS Declares Caliphate, Renames Itself ‘Islamic State’


Is ISIS’s reach about to exceed its grasp?

President Obama’s Plan To Arm “Moderate” Syrian Rebels Is A Bad Idea

Obama Marine One

For some reason, President Obama wants to arm so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels.

ISIS Threatening To Open A New Front In Lebanon

Lebanon Syria Iraq Map

Is ISIS about to make the situation in the Levant even worse?

U.S. Alleges Syria Bombed ISIS Positions Inside Iraq

Iraq Map

The United States is accusing Syria of launching air strikes inside Iraq against ISIS/ISIL forces: WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials said Syria launched airstrikes into western Iraq on Tuesday in an attempt to slow the al-Qaida-inspired insurgency fighting both the Syrian and Iraqi governments. Officials said Wednesday the strikes were the work of Syrian President […]

All Things Pass


Will ISIS be able to consolidate and hold the territory it’s taken in Iraq?

Insurgents Continue Advance Toward Baghdad

Iraq Map

It’s sure beginning to look like a civil war in Iraq, albeit a rather one sided one at the moment.

As Militants Advance, Iraqis Look To U.S. For Help

Iraq Map

The Iraqi government seems to be panicking.

Insurgents Linked To Al Qaeda Capture Iraq’s Second City


Things only seem to be getting worse in Iraq.

Another Round Of Bombings In Iraq


The rash of bombings that started hitting Iraq in advance of its most recent elections continues: BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near a funeral tent packed with mourners and another bomber on foot blew himself up nearby in a Shiite part of Baghdad early Saturday evening, the deadliest assault in a […]

Car Bombs Kill 36 In Iraq


Another wave of car bombs in Iraq: BAGHDAD — A wave of bombings, mainly targeting markets in and near Baghdad, killed 36 people on Tuesday, officials said, the latest in a surge of violence that has gripped Iraq. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, vowed to defeat “terrorists” behind the relentless attacks and chase them out […]

Iraq Claims It’s Powerless To Stop Iranian Arms Shipments To Syria

Iraq Iran Map

The Iraqis claim that they cannot do anything to stop the flow of arms over their borders into Syria: RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Iraq is unable to stop its neighbor Iran from transferring weapons to Syria through its airspace, Iraq’s foreign minister said in a newspaper interview published Saturday. “We reject and condemn the transfer of weapons through […]

Syria’s Civil War Inspiring Sectarian Violence Outside Syria

Syria Area Map

Syria’s violence is slipping across it’s borders.That’s not good news at all.

Wave Of Car Bombs Hits Baghdad, 66 Dead


Sectarian violence continues to grip Iraq: BAGHDAD (AP) — A wave of car bombings tore through mostly Shiite Muslim neighborhoods of the Baghdad area starting Monday afternoon, leaving at least 66 dead in the latest outburst of an unusually intense wave of bloodshed roiling Iraq. The blasts are the latest indication that Iraq’s security is […]

April Was Deadliest Month In Iraq In Five Years


The pre-election violence that plagued Iraq last month was the worst the nation has seen since June 2008: BAGHDAD (AP) — The United Nations mission to Iraq says more people were killed in violent attacks across the country in April than in any other month since June 2008. The U.N. figures released on Thursday underscore concerns […]

Al-Jazeera Banned In Iraq


The al-Jazeera television network has been banned in Iraq: The Iraqi authorities announced on Sunday that they had revoked the operating licences of the broadcaster al-Jazeera and nine other satellite TV channels, alleging that they are promoting a sectarian agenda, as the country grapples with a wave of violence. The move, effective immediately, comes as Baghdad tries […]

Iraq Ignoring U.S. Requests To Stop Iranian Flights To Syria

Iraq Iran Map

The United States is finding that its efforts to persuade Iraq to stop allowing Iranian planes heading to resupply the government of Bashar Assad to overly its territory are falling on deaf ears: Iraq’s government is resisting a request by the U.S. government to block Iranian planes from traversing Iraqi air space to resupply Syria’s repressive […]

Iraqis Helping Iran Evade Sanctions


The United States is accusing Iraq banks and other entities of helping Iran evade the sanctions put in place in response to its nuclear program: WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system, it was a rare acknowledgment of a […]

63 Dead In Baghdad Bombings


Less than a week after American forces finally vacated the country, Iraq looks to be returning to form: BAGHDAD — A wave of coordinated explosions ripped across Baghdad early on Thursday, killing at least 63 people, wounding more than 180 and jolting a country already unsettled by a deepening political crisis and the absence of […]

Nouri al-Malaki Seeks Arrest Of Iraqi Vice-President


It didn’t take very long after the removal of American troops, for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki to begin trying to consolidate power: BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s Sunni vice president denied charges he ran a hit squad that killed government officials during the nation’s wave of sectarian bloodletting, accusing the Shiite-led government Tuesday of waging […]

Iraqi Prime Minister Confirms Assassination Attempt Against Him


Political instability in Iraq nearly became a reality earlier this week: BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister says a bombing in the Green Zone earlier this week was an assassination attempt against him. During an interview with The Associated Press Saturday, Nouri al-Maliki said the parliament building or speaker also could have been targets but preliminary […]

Crazy Talk on Iran


Let’s compare Iraq and Iran.

U.S. Abandoning Plans For Residual Force In Iraq?


Some reports today seem to indicate that the United States is abandoning plans to keep a contingent of military forces in Iraq past the December 31st expiration of the current Status of Forces Agreement: BAGHDAD—The Obama administration is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline. A senior administration official […]

Panetta: At Least Some Non-Combat Troops Will Remain In Iraq After 2011


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave the strongest signal ever that there will be some U.S. military presence in Iraq after December 31st.

Iraq Is Backing Syria’s Dictator. Why The Heck Did We Go To War Again?


Iraq has become so dependent on Iran for its survival that it is endorsing the brutal tactics of Bashar Assad.

Musing About the Near Future of U. S. Security Policy


I’ve begun to wonder about the future of U. S. security policy. This isn’t a serious analytical post; it’s just what I call “musing”—committing disorganized thoughts to writing.

Gates Hints U.S. Could Stay In Iraq, But It Looks Like The Iraqis Don’t Want Us


Defense Secretary Gates hinted this week that the U.S. would stay in Iraq if the Iraqis wanted. It doesn’t seem like they do.

Arab “Day Of Rage” Protests Come To Iraq


Uh oh: BAGHDAD – At least 19 people were killed in Iraq on Friday as tens of thousands defied an official curfew to join a nationwide “Day of Rage,” echoing protests that have roiled the Middle East and North Africa since January. Despite pleas by the government and Shiite religious leaders for Iraqis to stay […]

Iraqi Defector Admits To Lying About Saddam’s WMD Program


It turns out the Iraq War was indeed based, in part at least, on a lie.

Maliki: U. S. Exit Not Subject to Extension or Alteration


Iraq’s PM re-affirms Iraq’s commitment to the U. S. withdrawal date in the Status of Forces Agreement.

Tariq Aziz Sentenced to Death


Via the BBC:  Tariq Aziz, Iraqi ex-minister, sentenced to death. Aziz was already in prison: In March 2009, he was jailed for 15 years for the executions of 42 Iraqi merchants. Five months later, he was sentenced to seven years’ further imprisonment for his role in the forced displacement of Kurds. Based solely on the […]

No, Hostilities Have Not Ended In Iraq


Despite the Obama Administration’s declaration of an end to “combat operations,” the situation in Iraq remains as unstable as it was when we were actually engaged in a war: BAGHDAD – At least 29 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured when a pair of bombs exploded almost simultaneously Sunday in Baghdad. […]

Tariq Aziz Speaks, Says U.S. Troops Should Stay In Iraq


Saddam Hussein’s closest adviser in the 1990s, Tariq Aziz, is talking to reporters, and he wants American troops to stay in Iraq.

Pentagon Can’t Account for $8.7 Billion in Iraqi Funds; No Records at all for $2.6 Billion


The Pentagon can not account for 95 percent of the Iraq oil revenue from 2004 to 2007.

The Surprise that is Increasingly not So Surprising


Via CBS:  Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq. As I have noted before: I continue to think that the need to continue to have all high-level visits to be “unannounced” or via “surprise” to be a useful metric in measuring the security situation in Iraq. Certainly it speaks volumes about the fact that security is […]

After Recount in Iraq, no Changes


Via the BBC:  Baghdad election results upheld by election commission "The number of the seats are still the same and didn’t change," electoral official Qassim al-Abboudi told reporters, adding that the recount’s outcome was compatible with the original results announced in March Now a governing coalition has to formed, as no party has a majority […]

OTB Radio — Tonight at 5:30 Eastern


After a brief hiatus, the next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30-6:30 Eastern. The tired and very, very busy Dave Schuler and I will be joined by a special guest, Colonel Pat Lang of Sic Semper Tyrannis to talk about the WikiLeaks Iraq video, Afghan president Hamid […]

Iraq War: Mission Accomplished?


TNR’s Marty Peretz argues that “The Verdict Is In On The Long American Excursion In Iraq. And It Is Favorable.” He admits right at the outset that, “Of course, Iraq hasn’t turned out that well. Sunni jihadniks are still routinely murdering pious Shi’a on pilgrimage to Karbala.”  But, he contends, “There are three especially compelling […]

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