International Security & Defense

469 Items

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Tasnim News

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Geopolitical Fight Club: Why Iraq Must Square off with Saudi Arabia

| Mar. 26, 2018

High mistrust of Saudi Arabia by Iraqi Shi’as is hampering any meaningful outreach Saudi is undertaking toward Iraq and any policy of balancing Iraq and Iran will not succeed unless serious steps toward sectarian de-escalation is taken in the region. In order to bridge the gap, there needs to be broad religious dialogue to discuss the role of Shia’s and Sunnis in the region and forge a common space for the inclusion of both denominations. Major Grand Ayatollahs—the highest authorities in the Shi’a world—have taken positive steps of forbidding the ritual cursing of certain companions of the Prophet Muhammad and the early caliphs considered reverential to the Sunni community. In this endeavor the role of Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf will be crucial as he has a track record of promoting better relations between Shi’as and Sunnis and is an authoritative moderating figure who can reign in hardline elements in Iraq who might be opposed to a détente.

Cpl. Edward Chin of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, covers the face of a statue of Saddam Hussein with an American flag before toppling it in downtown in Baghdad on Wednesday, April 9, 2003. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File

Analysis & Opinions - Sydney Morning Herald

The Monstrous Strategic Mistake That Took Us to War in Iraq

| Mar. 20, 2018

John Howard’s decision to commit thousands of Australian troops to the invasion of Iraq 15 years ago ranks as one of the two great failures of Australian foreign policy since the Second World War.

The other is Menzies’ decision to send forces to Vietnam. Both cases represented an abysmal failure of Australian political leadership, driven by an unnecessary capitulation to strategically foolhardy decisions by the US administrations of the time.

Both decisions were taken without independent Australian analysis of the legitimacy of American war aims, the credibility of American military strategy to both win the war and secure the peace, as well as the long-term consequences for Australian national interests.

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters at their combat position in a military base in Batnaya outside of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016.

AP Photo/Hadi Mizban

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

What Iraq's Kurdish Peshmerga Believe

| August 25, 2017

"Legally, the KRG continues to operate as a federal unit of the Iraqi national government, but a September 25 referendum for independence could set the Kurds on a trajectory toward sovereignty, something Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly wanted in an unofficial referendum held in 2005. Both the upcoming referendum and issues of territorial control are already being hotly contested. Peshmerga views of the post-ISIS regional order—and the extent to which these views are unified—are therefore key to Iraq’s political future."

Ambassador Douglas E. Lute

U.S. Department of Defense/Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

Press Release - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Ambassador Douglas E. Lute Named Senior Fellow by Belfer Center's Future of Diplomacy Project

The Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has named Ambassador Douglas E. Lute a Senior Fellow. While at the Kennedy School, Ambassador Lute will initiate a research project focused on NATO and transatlantic relations that will address the multiplicity of challenges facing the alliance as it approaches its 70th anniversary. He will also share his expertise in security and diplomacy by conducting seminars and study groups with students and fellows.

The Republican Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, 22 Feb. 2010. The palace served as the headquarters of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and the Green Zone developed around it.

Creative Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Don't Knock Offshore Balancing Until You've Tried It

| December 8, 2016

"Offshore balancing has not failed in the Middle East because it hasn't been U.S. strategy for almost a generation. The United States did act like an offshore balancer from 1945 to about 1990: It had vital interests in the region and wanted to prevent any state (including the Soviet Union) from controlling the Gulf. But it pursued this goal first by relying on Great Britain (until 1967) and then by turning to local allies like the shah of Iran. After the shah fell in 1979, the United States created the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) so it could affect the balance of power swiftly and directly and thus deter a possible Soviet foray into the Gulf. But it didn't park the RDF in the Gulf or elsewhere in the region; instead, it kept it offshore and over the horizon and didn't use it until Iraq seized Kuwait in August 1990."