US Influence in Iraq on the Decline

SULAIMANIYA – Iraq’s much-awaited recent power-sharing deal signifies a shift of influence on Iraqi politics away from the U.S. and its regional allies to domestic Iraqi political actors, most notably the Kurds, and eastward to Iran. In a matter of days, Kurdish-initiated talks did what Washington and Tehran and their regional allies could not do … Continue reading “US Influence in Iraq on the Decline”

Are Kurds’ Days of Kingmaking Over?

In the run-up to Iraq’s parliamentary elections next week, the once-united Kurds are not only suffering deep fissures but are expected to lose their privileged kingmaker position after the polls. This lack of unity coupled with the rise of several strong coalitions in the rest of the country may lead to the decline of Kurdish … Continue reading “Are Kurds’ Days of Kingmaking Over?”

Iran Sanctions Are the Talk of the Day

If there were any doubts about what exactly U.S. President Barack Obama meant when he warned Iran of "growing consequences" during his State of the Union address last month, they seem to be dispelled by recent statements from top administration officials, who are beating the sanctions drum loud and clear. When U.S. Secretary of Defense … Continue reading “Iran Sanctions Are the Talk of the Day”

Iran and US Moving in Circles?

The recent expansion of U.S. missile defense systems in the Persian Gulf just days after President Barack Obama warned Iran of "growing consequences" if it did not accept the West’s conditions over its nuclear program signals a possible change of approach by Washington even as uncertainty still prevails how it will deal with Iran eventually. … Continue reading “Iran and US Moving in Circles?”

Kurds Headed for Conflict With Baghdad?

When U.S. President Barack Obama announced his plan last week to pull out all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by September 2010, the news did not generate much enthusiasm among Iraqi Kurds. A simple math operation reveals the reasons behind the Kurds’ anxiety – add the withdrawal plan to the recent staggering victory of Iraqi … Continue reading “Kurds Headed for Conflict With Baghdad?”

Kurds Anxious Over Security Pact

Kurds are divided over a security pact between Iraq and the US, approved by a large majority in the Iraqi Parliament Thursday, in what appears to be a potential heavy blow to their major gains since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003. Despite the international media’s portrayal of unequivocal unified Kurdish support for … Continue reading “Kurds Anxious Over Security Pact”

Is Kurdish-Arab ‘Honeymoon’ Over?

Tensions between Kurds and the Iraqi government over disputed territory have heightened recently, raising fears that they might lead to ethnic clashes between Kurds and Arabs at a time when the war-torn country is slowly recovering from years of sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni Arabs. Last month, the Iraqi army deployed units to areas … Continue reading “Is Kurdish-Arab ‘Honeymoon’ Over?”

Iraq Deals Overshadowed by Rising Concerns

Iraqi parliamentarians are increasingly concerned that they are being left out of talks between Iraqi and U.S. officials over a strategic deal to determine the future relationship between the two countries, at a time when the U.S. Congress failed to include a provision in a bill to fund the Iraq and Afghan wars last week … Continue reading “Iraq Deals Overshadowed by Rising Concerns”

Border Shelling Hits Iraqi Kurdish Villagers

HAJI OMARAN (Iraq-Iran border) – Sixty-year-old Khadijah Hama Khan has had to flee home again. Nothing new. "All our life we have been on the run," she says. This time she had to flee Iranian shelling on her border village. It was not easy; she injured her leg after walking barefoot two hours. Now she … Continue reading “Border Shelling Hits Iraqi Kurdish Villagers”

Attacks on Yazidis Bring a Setback to the North

ARBIL – The deadly attack on the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq earlier this month is expected to worsen ethnic and sectarian tensions. The suicide bombings in Kahtaniya and al-Jazeera villages in the northern Nineveh province of Iraq Aug. 14 left more than 400 dead and at least 200 injured. These were the most lethal … Continue reading “Attacks on Yazidis Bring a Setback to the North”