Three years ago this month, the Islamic State started a systematic attack against the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi minority based in the Sinjar area of northwestern Iraq. We now have a better understanding of the militant group’s patterns of violence and goals because of the discovery of mass graves, survivor testimonies and the Islamic State’s public declarations. This new evidence tells […]
In a move that surprised many analysts, Muqtada al-Sadr — the controversial Iraqi Shiite cleric and political leader — visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, late last month. This followed a season of marked improvement in relations between Baghdad and Riyadh over the past year — which allowed for a measure of guarded optimism toward the future […]
After months of fierce ground war, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory last month over the Islamic State in Mosul. Analysts on the ground, however, said the fight is far from over. Already, a new version of the Islamic State is emerging out of the ashes of the Mosul offensive and is quickly adapting to […]
Amid the backdrop of a fight against the Islamic State, the Kurdistan region of Iraq plans to hold an important vote to determine its direction on statehood. Earlier this month, Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani announced that a long-awaited referendum on independence would be held Sept. 25, 2017. Importantly, the vote will not only […]
It looks like Jared Kushner will win the “What did you do this weekend?” story contest at the White House this week. President Trump’s senior adviser (and son-in-law) visited Iraq with Gen. Joseph Dunford. It was unclear what Mr. Kushner, who has been expanding his reach in his father-in-law’s administration, planned to gain from the trip. A senior administration official confirmed the visit, saying that Mr. Kushner, | Read More »
The nongovernmental organization Save the Children recently released a report documenting almost unbelievable trauma among Syrian children. Hundreds of thousands of these children have known nothing but war, death, dispossession and loss. Syrian enrollment in primary education has dropped from 98 percent before the war to 61.5 percent this year. An entire generation risks being […]
The phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” has been the subject of renewed debate in recent weeks. During his first address to Congress last month, President Trump said that his administration “is taking steps to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism.” The president’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, warned that the expression could alienate allies within the […]
Republican ties to the Russians are all the rage these days. And while they are a legitimate concern, we can’t get caught up in petty partisan bias here. Let’s watch both sides. Let’s specifically watch how Democrat staffers paid off by foreign interests, and what they did in return. The webs are complicated, and designed to deceive, but Middle eastern business interests were funneling money | Read More »
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Lukman Faily served as Iraq’s ambassador to the United States for three years. He left that post, and the Iraqi Foreign Service, in 2016. A lot has transpired since our last chat and we plan to follow this short exchange with a more in depth discussion on Covert Contact soon. John Little: When we talked […]
John W. Little discusses the future of Iraq with Iraq’s former Ambassador to the United States.