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  • 07/06/10--09:08: The Decisive Ones
  • At Length Magazine has just published a short memoir I wrote of the early days of the Iraq invasion. You can find it under prose on the homepage, or you can click here to link directly to the piece. Here’s how it opens: “Fuck you fuck you fuck you. Fucking American army piece of shit,” [...]

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  • 09/04/10--00:50: Iraq’s Narrative
  • What is the long arc of America’s involvement in Iraq? For two very different approaches to this question, take a look at the a Defense Department official’s description of the blueprint for Iraq and Anthony Shadid’s wrenching story of one family’s encounter with Operation Iraqi Freedom. Each in their way is trying to make sense of [...]

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  • 11/16/10--18:59: Larry Kaplow on Iraq
  • One of my favorite voices on Iraq is Larry Kaplow, the veteran reporter who to my knowledge spent more time in Baghdad than any other Western reporter. He has weighed in today with the kind of droll summation that is his trademark. “It’s not over yet,” on Foreign Policy, describes the biggest fault lines splitting [...]

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  • 12/08/10--12:57: Long Form Best of 2010
  • I’m quite honored to find my memoir of the Iraq invasion in At Length on the top 20 list for this year at longform.org. They’ve chosen quite a line-up of pieces, including a bunch I have not yet read but have just put in my Instapaper.

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  • 12/31/10--05:58: From the Archives
  • I was cleaning out my office ahead of the New Year, and I found the press badge that the US military issued me in Kuwait in 2003. Just a few weeks before the invasion of Iraq, the military press office (known during that phase of the war as the CFLCC PAO) accredited more than a [...]

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    Kelly McEvers has a story on NPR about Moqtada Sadr’s methods; he seems to be borrowing directly from Hezbollah’s playbook, and I discuss in an interview with Kelly all the potential for power and long-term pitfalls Hezbollah’s approach entails. At a recent press conference, Iraq’s minister of planning, Ali Youssef al-Shukri, stepped to the podium, gave [...]

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  • 01/26/13--05:58: How We Fight
  • Fred Kaplan’s Insurgents on David Petraeus The American occupation of Iraq in its early years was a swamp of incompetence and self-delusion. The tales of hubris and reality-denial have already passed into folklore. Recent college graduates were tasked with rigging up a Western-style government. Some renegade military units blasted away at what they called “anti-Iraq [...]

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  • 01/30/13--12:26: Kaplan and COIN: The Tweets
  • Fred Kaplan graciously took part in a Twitter conversation about his book, The Insurgents. He explained his concerns that the military remains confused about its mission, and expounded on his view that counterinsurgency doctrine is sometimes the right recipe and is not, as I suggested in a question, “snake oil,” or “the best way to [...]

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    My first foray onto Bloggingheads TV, with fellow TCF fellow Michael Cohen. Michael thinks COIN is “claptrap”; I think it was a decent idea taken too far. We’re both starting our discussion with a read of Fred Kaplan’s book The Insurgents, and our own long-standing argument about what went wrong in Iraq (and our mostly shared [...]

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    THE INTERNATIONALIST It’s murderous, intolerant, and dangerous. But the group offers Sunnis something rare in the Middle East: a chance to feel like a citizen. JUNE 29, 2014 REUTERS An ISIS fighter in the city of Mosul last week. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, smashed its way into the world’s consciousness […]

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    [Published at The Century Foundation.] This summer, the Islamic State will probably lose its capitals in Syria and Iraq, and possibly, any hope of surviving as a traditional territorial state. For three years, however, the ISIS caliphate functioned as a state—blood-trenched, appalling, and wildly unpopular—but a state nonetheless. Its fall certainly doesn’t preclude other jihadi […]

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    An Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services member prays in the Old City of Mosul on July during an ongoing offensive to retake the city from Islamic State group fighters. FADEL SENNA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES [Published in The Boston Globe Ideas.] The collapse this month of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has been greeted with joy and relief in many […]

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    With Kurdistan’s independence referendum ending in fiasco, and Mosul recaptured from ISIS, what’s next for Iraq? Arguably, Iraq is the biggest success story right now in the Arab world. In the latest episode of the TCF World podcast, I asked two experts to share their views on what comes next for federalism and the reconstitution […]

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    [Read the full report at The Century Foundation.] In the fifteen years since the American invasion toppled Saddam Hussein from power, Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has distinguished himself from other emerging Iraqi leaders with his endurance, iconoclasm, and unpredictability. He has cut a bedeviling and at times magnetic figure in his country, and he is one […]

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    The Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr at a demonstration in April against the bombings of Syria by Britain, France and the United States. CreditHaidar Hamdani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images [Published in The New York Times.] May 11, 2018 BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq’s parliamentary elections on May 12 might seem to offer more of the same because most of […]