Iraq

Trump’s Iran sanctions and the protests in Iraq and Lebanon are connected

Featured image I have tried to provide some coverage of the mass anti-Iran protests in Iraq and the anti-Hezbollah protests in Lebanon. Taken together, they can plausibly be viewed as a “revolt against Iran.” Caroline Glick argues that the mass protests are the product of President Trump’s tough economic sanctions against Iran. She writes: The sanctions are one of the causes of the protests in both Lebanon and Iraq. Due to the »

Protests in Lebanon and Iraq are bad news for Iran

Featured image I’ve tried to keep our readers apprised, or at least aware, of the large scale protests in Lebanon and Iraq. Both sets of protests are bad news for Iran. In Lebanon, the protests are directed, in part, against Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy. In Iraq, the major target appears to be Iran itself. Eliora Katz, writing for Tablet, calls the protests “the revolt against Iran”: Across the Middle East, from Baghdad to »

Anti-Iran protests erupt in Iraq

Featured image I wrote here about protests in Lebanon against a government dominated by Hezbollah, and therefore by Iran. Hezbollah’s leader initially expressed support for the protesters, pretending that the target was other players in Lebanon. When protesters refuted that myth, he changed his tune and warned of civil war. Since then, Hezbollah has violently attacked protesters. Iraq is experiencing a similar dynamic. Large-scale protests have broken out again. As in Lebanon, »

America’s withdrawal from Syria: Are congratulations in order?

Featured image Yesterday, President Trump spoke about the cease-fire in northeastern Syria. He declared it a major diplomatic victory for the administration. Trump noted that critics had “scorned” him for removing U.S. troops from areas controlled by the U.S. and our Kurdish allies. “Now,” claimed Trump, “people are saying ‘Wow, what a great outcome — congratulations.'” Most of Trump’s critics aren’t saying this, though. They complain that Trump has opened the door »

Biden’s false claim about his position on the second Iraq war

Featured image In 2002, Joe Biden voted to authorize going to war with Iraq. A decade earlier, he had voted against doing so. The war Biden opposed liberated Kuwait with very little loss of American life. The war Biden supported proved far more problematic. Now Biden claims that “immediately, th[e] moment [the second Iraq war] started, I came out against the war at that moment.” This claim isn’t true, as we’ll see »

Report: ISIS is gaining in Syria and Iraq

Featured image The New York Times reports that ISIS is gathering new strength and conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria. Observers are confident that ISIS won’t reclaim anything like its former physical territory, a “caliphate” that was the size of Britain and controlled the lives of up to 12 million people. However, if it continues to gain strength, ISIS may soon become a force to be reckoned with and could control »

Pompeo’s thankless visit to the Middle East

Featured image Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the Middle East trying to assure friends, allies, and non-adversaries that the U.S. isn’t walking away from the region. He claimed that progress has been made in addressing Turkey’s objections to Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria and that Turkey has provided “commitments” that Kurds who fought with U.S. forces against ISIS will be protected when the U.S. leaves Syria. The only public commitment »

Trump visits troops in Iraq

Featured image President Trump visited the troops in Iraq at Al Asad Air Base on Christmas. Sarah Sanders announced on Twitter: “President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas.” President Trump himself tweeted out the video below. I’m sure we’ll »

Iraqi protesters torch Iran’s embassy in Basra

Featured image Protesters in Basra stormed the Iranian Consulate yesterday and set the building on fire. The protesters, who also set fire to headquarters of pro-Iranian militias as well as many government buildings, chanted “Iran out.” They also trampled portraits of Iran’s ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei Basra is a majority Shiite city. Thus, as the Washington Post says, the attack on the consulate. . .upended notions of solidarity between Iraq’s Shiite heartland and »

Anti-Iran protests rock southern Iraq

Featured image I wrote here about an emerging strategy to undermine the Iranian regime. A key element is making the regime pay for its regional adventurism, which has become quite unpopular with the Iranian population. This can be accomplished by making Iran’s adventurism increasingly costly and humiliating the regime by thwarting its ambitions. As Jonathan Speyer explained it: A strategy seeking to contain further Iranian gains and then to roll Iran back »

The emerging strategy to undermine the Iranian regime

Featured image Several sources report an Israeli attack on a military airport in central Syria, an area where Hezbollah militias are located. There are conflicting reports about whether the attack was successful. Syria claims that its air defense system thwarted the attack. Syrian rebels say Israeli missiles destroyed that air defense system. The Israeli government has yet to comment. Jonathan Spyer, writing in the Jerusalem Post, provides context for the growing number »

Bad news about Iraq’s election

Featured image Last week at this time, relying on a report by the Washington Post, I wrote that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is the front-runner in Iraq’s national elections. This was good news, I said, because Abadi had worked closely with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, was campaigning on a message of national unity, and seemed to enjoy support across sectarian lines. The frontrunner Abadi may have been. However, it »

Good news about Iraq’s upcoming elections

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is the front-runner in Iraq’s national elections to be held next weekend. Abadi is a Shiite, but according to Post reporters Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim, he is popular with the Sunni population in cities like Mosul. And why not? Abadi helped orchestrate the military campaign that liberated Mosul and other Sunni cities from ISIS. In doing so, he kept a »

Brothers in arms

Featured image On Saturday the Wall Street Journal published Michael Phillips’s devastatingly sad story about twin brothers Chris and Mike Goski. Both served with distinction in the armed forces following 9/11. Michael’s story is “Brothers in arms.” While the story is behind the Journal’s paywall, it is accompanied by an embeddable video with the following preface: Chris Goski was born on May 1, 1981. His twin brother Mike followed a few minutes »

Fireworks for ISIS

Featured image The U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition struck the terrorist group 37 times on July 4. So reports the Daily Caller, citing a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). The majority of the strikes took place in Syria, in support of the Syrian Democratic Force’s (SDF) push on ISIS’s capital of Raqqa. They hit ISIS oil infrastructure, as well as 17 fighting positions in or near Raqqa. Backed by U.S. air strikes the »

Iraq omitted from new travel order. Why?

Featured image John discussed the Trump administration’s revised travel order in a post below. He says it looks bullet proof, and so it does. However, I can’t help but suspect that if the same judges who reviewed the original order rule on its successor, the outcome might well be the same, with new concerns providing the basis for an anti-administration ruling. This time around, though, I’m confident the administration is prepared to »

Trump’s three generals

Featured image The New York Times notes one thing that the generals President Trump has appointed to top administration positions have in common. Gen. Jim Mattis, Gen, John Kelly, and Gen. H.R. McMaster each, at one point or another, “strode the sands of Iraq, fighting on the unforgiving battlefield of America’s costliest war since Vietnam.” Now “all three will sit around the table in the White House Situation Room, steering a new »