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Oil’s Divisive Influence: The Case of Iraq The future economic security of Iraq rests upon the management of its natural resources, but an acrimonious dispute between the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad threatens to destabilize more than just Iraq’s economy. An Iraqi petroleum worker walks past a gas burn off flame in the Anzalla oil fields in the Ninewa Province of Northern Iraq It has long been speculated that oil can be a driver for civil conflict, and one needs to look no further for evidence than the sectarian power politics now playing out in Iraq. The oil-fuels-conflict hypothesis is well-documented in academic studies on war and conflict: In one such recent analysis, Michael Ross offers a comprehensive assessment of the causal links between civil conflict and oil in cases involving Middle East countries.
By many accounts, Iraq appears to again be in the throes of sectarian conflict. Last month, the country’s judiciary issued an arrest warrant for its Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, for his alleged involvement in terrorism. At the same time, Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite Prime Minister, sought to remove another high-profile Sunni official from office, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak, who had accused Maliki of being a dictator.
In a tumultuous year that witnessed the fall of Arab tyrants and the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, proponents of the 2003 invasion, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and conservative academic Fouad Ajami, have sought to portray the decision to topple Saddam Hussein's regime as the hidden driver of the Arab Spring. But rather than revisit history, why not -- on this one-year anniversary of Tunisian strongman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's downfall -- try our hand at alternate history: If the United States had never invaded Iraq, would Saddam's Baathist regime still be standing in today's Middle East? This question, of course, is a bedeviling one. It is difficult to imagine the region absent U.S. military intervention in Iraq.
If you are to read only one article on where Iraq stands today, I heartily recommend this Foreign Affairs essay, “The Iraq We Left Behind: Welcome to the World’s Next Failed State,” by Ned Parker, a former Los Angeles Times correspondent in Baghdad who is now spending a year at the Council on Foreign Relations (where I am a senior fellow). Parker accurately sums up the country as follows: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presides over a system rife with corruption and brutality, in which political leaders use security forces and militias to repress enemies and intimidate the general population. The law exists as a weapon to be wielded against rivals and to hide the misdeeds of allies. The dream of an Iraq governed by elected leaders answerable to the people is rapidly fading away.
The walls of Um Hussein's living room in Baghdad are hung with the portraits of her missing sons. There are four of them, and each picture frame is decorated with plastic roses and green ribbons as an improvised wreath for the dead. Um Hussein had six children.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph DENVER – The narrative of contemporary Iraq is becoming etched in stone: United States troops are leaving, and the country is falling apart.
Tareq Al-Hashemi: “My Case is Extremely Political” Only a few days ago in Iraq, government forces detained more than a dozen members of Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi’s bodyguard, and the Ministry of Interior made further accusations that Hashemi’s employees were “practicing assassinations.” The accused politician spoke with The Majalla.
Seif Abdel Sadeh’s eyes lolled as his brother tipped a cup of orange juice to his swollen lips. As he lifted his arm to push his brother’s hand away, he grimaced, agitating the charred skin on his face, causing still more pain. The day before, Seif, 18, was walking to his Sadr City high school when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded.
The meeting held by the National Iraqi Alliance proved unsuccessful at finding a replacement for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, or at responding to the demands as stated in the letters that were issued by previous conferences in Erbil and Najaf. This has forced the leaders of the Erbil Conference to meet within 48 hours to find a conclusive solution to the crisis. This time, they will be joined by the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim. A statement issued by the Iraqi List yesterday [May 27] said that the five leaders of the Erbil Conference, "President of Iraq Jalal Talabani, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani, Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq Osama Najafi, Head of the Iraqi List Ayad Allawi, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and al-Hakim will meet in Erbil within 48 hours."
By Yochi J. Dreazen BAGHDAD—The attack came without warning.
As the withdrawal of American troops draws nearer, International Crisis Group draws attention to the Iraqi government’s immediate and structural problems of corruption. The challenges to the Iraqi government’s legitimacy may ultimately harm a stability, which has mercifully developed since 2008. Failing Oversight: Iraq’s Unchecked Government International Crisis Group
Canon Andrew White discusses his unique role as leader of a Baghdad parish Canon Andrew White serves as Vicar to St George's Parish in the center of Baghdad. A significant part of his work is devoted to multi-faith dialogue and healing sectarian rifts in a complex environment. Despite his undoubted good work and successes, the so-called Bishop of Baghdad is no stranger to controversy.
On Dec. 17, two days after the U.S. military cased its colors and formally ended its mission in Iraq, the brain trust of the Iraqi oil sector gathered for a symposium at Baghdad's Alwiyah Club, a fortified concrete complex of meeting rooms and outdoor gardens. They were officially meeting to discuss " Challenges Facing the Development of the Extractive Industry ." The issues they grappled with held the prospect to transform the global energy marketplace and determine the course of Iraqi democracy. A few top government officials sat on a dais while members of the audience -- about 150 parliamentarians, technocrats, and academics -- took turns at a podium, giving short speeches and asking questions of the panelists. Speakers often had to yell to be heard over the objections of audience members. A bit of shouting was to be expected: This was the first time in years that Iraqis were gathering without a foreign military occupation to outline their economic future.
Iraqi unions demonstrated yesterday on May Day 2012 at a difficult historical moment. Still operating without a labor law that sanctions their organizing, and under the consolidation of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s growing police/military powers, their movement faces an array of antagonistic forces. In this wide-ranging discussion with Ali Issa, Basra-based Hashmeya Muhsin al–Saadawi, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union in Iraq, and the first woman vice-president of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers in Basra, discusses Iraqi security after the US withdrawal, the legacy of the US occupation, the state of union organizing and electricity, and finally the Iraqi protest movement - one of the least covered of the Arab uprisings.
“Not a year has passed without hunger in Iraq,” wrote the great Iraqi poet al-Sayyab (1926–1964) more than half a century ago in his memorable poem “Rainsong.” Now, many years and many wars later, there is hunger aplenty. Were he alive today, al-Sayyab would have expressed nothing short of horror at the massive hunger in the “new” Iraq, especially when considering the obscene wealth that has been and is still being plundered and squandered by its rulers. One in six Iraqis live in poverty . This is in a nation with the second highest oil reserves in the world and a budget surplus of more than fifty billion US dollars in 2011.