The decision to kill the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force is part of a broader US policy to change Iranian activities that threaten US interests and the forces that work to achieve those interests. Yet in this regard, the United States faces a fundamental misalignment of ends and means.
The Return of the Eastern Front: The Evolution of the Iraqi Threat in Israeli Eyes SWJED Mon, 02/03/2020 - 12:39pm
Iraq is returning to the attention of Israel's decision-makers. Speaking publicly at a conference in Herzliya, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi emphasized in no uncertain terms Iran's transfer of precision weapons into Iraq. "The weaponry from Iraq passes through freely and we cannot allow this to happen without a response…," stressed Kochavi. "We will not let Iran secure a foothold in the northern theater at all, not even in Iraq."
Iraq: Time for A Different Approach SWJED Mon, 01/27/2020 - 12:50am
The blood price for “democracy and freedom” in Iraq continues to be steep. For over a decade “civil society” and “capacity building” programs paid for with American dollars have yielded few sustainable results.
After the Soleimani Strike, What’s Next for Iraq and the Region? SWJED Thu, 01/09/2020 - 6:21pm
With tensions between Iran and the U.S. already simmering, the January 3 U.S. airstrike that killed powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani is sure to have ripple effects across the region. Maj. Gen. Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, coordinated Iran’s military operations and proxies across the Middle East.
Iraq’s Protesters Ousted a Prime Minister. Now What? SWJED Thu, 12/05/2019 - 3:43am
Violence remains a risk as parties resist demands for deeper change, USIP experts say.
As Protests Continue in the Street, Iraq Reaches a Crossroads SWJED Tue, 11/12/2019 - 4:32am
ImageTens of thousands of Iraqis have been protesting in Baghdad and southern provinces against the failure of the Iraqi government and the political class in delivering basic services, providing jobs, fighting corruption, and more. Iraqi security forces and armed groups reportedly linked to Iran have used lethal force in response to the protests, leaving over 260 dead and over 10,000 injured. As the protests have progressed, demands have expanded to include calls for regime change, the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, early elections, pushing back against Iranian influence, and accountability for killing peaceful protesters.
Underpinnings of ethnic, religious, tribal, and demographic factors as well as their associated social identities remain a recurrent player in Iraqi politics and has affected the building of the Iraqi Army over the past 16 years. Researching Iraqi culture, social identities and their historical context is paramount to understanding the challenges the U.S. has faced in its efforts to train, equip, and advise the Iraqi Army. Independent thinking, creative ideas, information sharing, individual initiative, decentralized control, delegation of responsibility, and personal merit are all keys to success in U.S. military doctrine but contradict Iraqi sociocultural norms of centralized power, groupthink, and avoiding shame, embarrassment, and admission of mistakes. Training, equipping, and advising Arab militaries to follow Western military doctrine has had a history of at best mediocre results and rarely outlives the departure of Western advisors. U.S. capacity building doctrine in Iraq did not adjust to take into account Iraqi culture, instead it expected the Iraqi military to adapt to American military doctrine.
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On the Verge of Civil War-Iraq Post Protests SWJED Wed, 10/30/2019 - 2:22pm
Protests in Iraq continue despite the harsh measures against those participating. Starting Thursday night, October 24th, crowds of protesters in Baghdad, Babel and Nasiriyah gathered to prepare for more protests. The vast majority of those participating according to the field reports, were males between 15-35 years old. Then Friday morning protests started again in earnest, renewing calls for reform and action. This time both men and women and high school aged boys and girls, joined the protests.
“American Spy” Chapter Excerpt: Iraq Intelligence Failure SWJED Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:40am
This story could have been included in the previous chapter [“Ignore My Intelligence at Your Peril (I Am Not As Stupid As I Look)”], but as you will read, this premeditated intelligence failure in Iraq is so mind-boggling in nature that it deserves a chapter all its own. Technically it was not an intelligence failure; it was a spectacular tactical intelligence success story, followed by an unconscionable bureaucratic failure to properly manage an invaluable ongoing counterterrorism intelligence operation.
Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower justifiably have become legends for their accomplishments while commander World War II’s Pacific and Northern European campaigns. Yet even with renewed focus on great power conflicts, future commanders are more likely to face missions similar to what these officers faced in the Philippines prior to the war than the continent-wide conventional campaigns they are better known far.