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Iraq

Iraqi Shiite women carry portraits of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his predecessor and Islamic Revolution founder Ayatollah Khomeini and late Iraqi Shiite cleric Mohammed Baqer al-Sadr during a military parade in Baghdad, on May 31, 2019.
Iraqi Shiite women carry portraits of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his predecessor and Islamic Revolution founder Ayatollah Khomeini and late Iraqi Shiite cleric Mohammed Baqer al-Sadr during a military parade in Baghdad, on May 31, 2019.

Iraq Is Nearing the Brink of a Shiite Civil War

The increasingly violent rivalry between Moqtada al-Sadr and Iran will decide Iraq’s future.

Protesters supporting Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr occupy the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad, on Aug. 3.
Protesters supporting Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr occupy the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad, on Aug. 3.

Biden’s Indifference Has Given Iran the Upper Hand in Iraq

The country’s fragile postwar democracy is threatened like never before.

Supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr gather outside the Iraqi parliament in the Green Zone in Baghdad, on the seventh day of protests against the nomination of a rival Shiite faction for the position of prime minister on Aug. 5, 2022.
Supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr gather outside the Iraqi parliament in the Green Zone in Baghdad, on the seventh day of protests against the nomination of a rival Shiite faction for the position of prime minister on Aug. 5, 2022.

Is Moqtada al-Sadr Trying to Stage a Jan. 6 Insurrection in Iraq?

The cleric’s “spontaneous peaceful revolution” is more of a bid to maintain his own influence—and the political status quo.

A crowd of men protesting hold flags and a large portrait of Sadr.
A crowd of men protesting hold flags and a large portrait of Sadr.

Moqtada al-Sadr Wants to Be Iraq’s Ayatollah Khomeini

Despite the Shiite cleric’s apparent efforts against Iranian influence in Iraq, his chief inspiration is Iran’s founder and most famous supreme leader.

Supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr flash the victory sign during protests inside the parliament building in Baghdad on July 30.
Supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr flash the victory sign during protests inside the parliament building in Baghdad on July 30.

Iraqi Politics Needs a Root-and-Branch Overhaul

New elections won’t fix what increasingly looks like a systemic problem.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on July 27, 2021.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on July 27, 2021.

On Biden’s Middle East Visit, He Will See a New Iraq at the Table

After leaning heavily on the United States, Iraq is finding its own footing.

reconstruction builders work to revive Mosul's Old City
reconstruction builders work to revive Mosul's Old City

Five Years After Liberation, There Is New Hope Among Mosul’s Ruins

On the anniversary of its liberation from the Islamic State, Iraq’s second city heals its scars.

Iraqi demonstrators lift banners against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi during a protest rejecting election results, near an entrance to the Green Zone in Baghdad on Nov. 5, 2021.
Iraqi demonstrators lift banners against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi during a protest rejecting election results, near an entrance to the Green Zone in Baghdad on Nov. 5, 2021.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Is Silencing Human Rights Advocates

Mustafa al-Kadhimi promised reform and freedom of expression. Now he’s using archaic laws to stifle free speech.

A long line of cars stretches down a city street from a gas station.
A long line of cars stretches down a city street from a gas station.

Iraq’s Oil Dysfunction

The world’s sixth-largest oil producer still suffers from fuel shortages and power outages.

Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi militia leader and Shiite Muslim cleric, gives a news conference in the central holy shrine city of Najaf, on November 18, 2021.
Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi militia leader and Shiite Muslim cleric, gives a news conference in the central holy shrine city of Najaf, on November 18, 2021.

Why Muqtada al-Sadr Failed to Reform Iraq

Iraq’s most recent election promised change but ended up entrenching the establishment.

A Halo Trust member lifts a tarp covering explosive debris.
A Halo Trust member lifts a tarp covering explosive debris.

In Iraq, the Bitter Legacy of War Still Lies Hidden Underground

Baghdad can’t rebuild its infrastructure and agricultural sector when its land remains littered with thousands of explosive devices.

Afghan militia gather in Afghanistan.
Afghan militia gather in Afghanistan.

America Doesn’t Control the Forever Wars

The slow fall of the nation-state’s monopoly on violence will shape future conflicts.

Anti-Taliban forces train.
Anti-Taliban forces train.

Afghan Insurgents Are a Dead End

Rebuilding U.S. standing requires an end to backing militants abroad.

The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet at a ceremony to repatriate it to Iraq.
The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet at a ceremony to repatriate it to Iraq.

When Will the West Truly Decolonize Its Museums?

The recent repatriation of artifacts to Iraq sets a promising precedent—but it’s not nearly enough.

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission conducts a manual recount of votes.
Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission conducts a manual recount of votes.

Iraqi Voters Want Weaker Militias and a Stronger State

Election results show citizens want a government that can stand on its own without being propped up by Iran, the United States, or shadowy militias.

Muqtada al-Sadr drives a car.
Muqtada al-Sadr drives a car.

Muqtada al-Sadr Is the United States’ Best Hope

The Shiite cleric was once Washington’s bitter enemy in Iraq—and now offers the best chance of securing U.S. interests.

Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate in Baghdad.
Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate in Baghdad.

The Biggest Loser of Iraq’s Election Could Be Iran

Pro-Iran parties lost support, say they’ll reject the results, and are threatening violence.

Iraqis attend a conference organized by the U.S. think tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, Iraq, on Sept. 24.
Iraqis attend a conference organized by the U.S. think tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, Iraq, on Sept. 24.

A Pro-Israel Summit in Erbil Breaks New Ground

At great personal risk, Iraqi civil society leaders gather to demand entry into the Abraham Accords.

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