Author: Iraqi Thoughts

What do Iraqis expect from President Trump?

Ali Al-Mawlawi The unexpected election of Donald Trump invoked a largely subdued response from Iraqis. Over the past six weeks, the nation has been preoccupied with developments in Mosul as Iraqi forces battle it out to recapture the last major ISIS stronghold in the country. Through conversations with Iraqis in Baghdad about what Trump’s election might mean for Iraq and its relationship with the United States going forward, it is clear that unlike Hillary Clinton, Trump is a largely unknown quantity. There are however some common themes that arise in any conversation about what to expect from a Trump...

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Abadi Must Check Barzani’s Ambition

I wrote last month on the Kurdistan Region’s incumbent president Masoud Barzani’s need to deliver on returning the goodwill and alliance prime minister Haider al-Abadi extended to him on his trip to Baghdad in late September. Abadi spoke largely on a united federal Iraq and avoided any criticism of Barzani’s devisive politics in Erbil or his overdue presidential mandate of the Kurdistan Region. The visit was a good trip for photo ops from a federal Iraq PR perspective, but it didn’t stop Barzani from putting his relationship with Ankara ahead of Baghdad. Military plans on the Mosul Offensive were...

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Maslawis Want to Have Their Voices Heard

As Iraqi Security Forces continue their advances in the operation to retake Mosul, edging closer to the city itself, the next stage in the operation will be heavily influenced by local civilian behaviour. The steady stream of news stories and analysis articles fills the media scene, but not many of these pieces incorporate opinions of actual Maslawis (people from Mosul). Restrictions imposed by ISIS on communications, and harsh punishments (including execution) for those suspected of talking to journalists, mean that information flow from Mosul through traditional journalistic channels is almost impossible. Aiming to address the near absence of their...

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Unravelling the coordinated campaign to break up Iraq

Taken at face value, the growing calls for the partition of Iraq and the establishment of an independent Sunni Arab state appear to be uncoordinated. But the recent release of a think tank paper that advocates for Iraq’s break up inadvertently reveals how discredited Iraqi politicians and millionaire businessmen are teaming up with DC lobbyists to execute a highly coordinated campaign to make the case for a three-state solution in Iraq. On the eve of the start of the Mosul offensive, the Hudson Institute released a white paper making the case for why the United States should support the establishment of an autonomous Sunni region...

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After Mosul: Securing the Future of Iraq’s Assyrians

Introduction As various forces descend on Mosul, ISIS’ last and most important stronghold in Iraq, sensible questions are emerging in the discourse about post-ISIS governance in Mosul and its surrounding areas. The interested parties keen to ask these questions as well as answer them range from: the Iraqi Army and its allied militias, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), largely made up of Shia Arabs with a minority of Sunni Arabs; to Peshmerga, mostly from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), who control neighbouring Dohuk and Erbil provinces; to the Nineveh Plains Protection Units (NPU), an Assyrian militia tied to the...

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