Category Archives: Iraq

Jihad at a Crossroad: Jabhat al Nusra’s Identity Crisis

Commentary by Wajdi Mallat – 5 August 2014



When the Islamic State blitzed through Iraq and took Mosul and much of western Iraq, it brought global attention to the schism that jihad has undergone over the past year: Al Qaeda was longer at the forefront of extremist Sunni groups. As global media frantically pushed the narrative that ISIS (or ISIL or IS now) was an offshoot of Al Qaeda that was deemed too extremist for Bin Laden’s successor al-Zawahiri, it cited the differing strategy that the Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra – the al Qaeda group in Syria – would utilize.  Continue reading


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L’Iran ne sera pas le gendarme du Moyen-Orient

Par William Hanna – 15 juin 2014

Source: Jason DeCrow/AP

Source: Jason DeCrow/AP

Suite à la conquête spectaculaire de nombreuses villes irakiennes par l’Etat Islamique en Irak et au Levant (EIIL), le président iranien n’a pas hésité à déclarer, samedi 14 juin, que son pays « était prêt à apporter tout soutien nécessaire demandé par le gouvernement irakien, dans son combat contre le terrorisme ». Cette déclaration est d’autant plus significative lorsqu’elle est comparée aux hésitations de la politique étrangère américaine et au quasi mutisme européen. L’annonce par le Pentagone de l’envoi d’un porte-avion déjà stationné dans la région du Golfe arabo-persique, à proximité des eaux territoriales irakiennes,  renforce l’impression d’un attentisme américain.  Continue reading

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Filed under Français, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon & Syria

ISIL’s Iraq Blitzkrieg: A Window of Opportunity to Act in Syria?

Commentary by Tamer Mallat– 14 June 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL, Da’esh in Arabic) lightning invasion of Iraq is a serious cause for alarm. The speed by which it has taken over major Iraqi cities is revealing of the extent of the training its members have received, the numbers it commands and the resources at its disposal. The blitz also demonstrates just how powerful ISIL really is, and how it has asserted itself as a kingmaker in the Syrian civil war. Facing little or no resistance, the success of its operation appears imminent. And yet, this precipitated invasion may offer the first glimmer of hope for the Syrian conflict – the first of its kind in years since the revolution was hijacked by radicals. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Foreign Policy & IR, Français, Iraq, Lebanon & Syria

Why None of the Revolutions Have Caused an Arab Leader to Fall

Commentary by Mona Chalabi – 10 August 2012


Like any spring, the so-called Arab one has had a rise and a fall. Written analyses of every variety from magazine articles, to a burgeoning academic literature on the subject have made reference to the fall of regimes, the fall of leaders, of political parties. What is more, this language of a fallen something, is every bit as prevalent in the diverse oral accounts that are being recited from coffee shops to conferences. Continue reading

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Corruption in Iraq: An Eyewitness Account

Text and video by Mona Chalabi – 4 June 2012

In 2010, Iraq was ranked 175th out of 178 countries in terms of public perceptions of corruption. In 2011, Iraq again came in 175th place and received the lowest score of any country in the Middle East and North Africa region in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. This year, I travelled across the country to listen to Iraqis and understand why they have so little faith in the integrity of their public sector. (Continue reading to watch video)  Continue reading

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A War for Nothing? The Gloomy Aftermath of America’s Withdrawal from Iraq

Commentary by Riccardo Dugulin – 5 November 2011

The start of the Iraq war in 2003, with all the protests that it sparked, the diplomatic ballet that it unleashed, and the dictator that it toppled, is an event that marked a generation. Chances are that the end of the US military mission in Mesopotamia, marking the last stop of Washington’s second longest armed engagement to date, will not stir as much attention. Victory during WWII had its imagery and so did the US’s defeat in Vietnam. Iraq will most probably fade away. Moqtada Al Sadr promised that there won’t be any major attack on US troops while they are leaving Iraq. Aside from the incidental threat posed by Al Qaeda in the region, US servicemen and servicewomen should not expect any widespread violence as they prepare their drawdown after more than eight years of engagement. Continue reading

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Filed under English, Foreign Policy & IR, Gulf states, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia

Why Libya 2011 is not Iraq 2003

Commentary by Janaina Herrera – 22 August 2011

Benghazi celebrates the adoption of the UNSC resolution 1973, 17 March 2011

Many, including China, Russia and other emerging powers[1] have opposed a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning the Syrian regime for its ruthless crackdown on protestors. For many of these countries, the reproduction of the Libyan precedent has been a major cause for fear. They believe that any harsh condemnation of Damascus’s tyrannical repression could unleash a sequence similar to that of the Libyan scenario: condemnation would lead to multilateral sanctions, and from there to the possibility of military intervention if other methods were to prove ineffective. The intervention in Libya has been the cause for debate. For many, criticism has revolved around the idea that NATO military action in Libya is associated with the Iraq War of 2003. In the context of current massive human rights violations in Syria and other restive Arab states, such a comparison merits considerable attention. Continue reading


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