FROM Joost Hiltermann
The Iraqi People Have Voted Again: What's Next? Nineteen million people were eligible to vote for 6200 candidates nationwide with 325 parliamentary seats at stake. Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission says 62% turned out nationwide in yesterday’s election -- 61% in the Sunni province of Anbar and 80% of the Kurds. In Baghda, though, only 51% went to the polls.
The Iraqi People Have Voted Again: What's Next? Nineteen million people were eligible to vote yesterday for 6200 candidates nationwide with 325 parliamentary seats at stake. Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission says 62% turned out nationwide, despite rocket and mortar attacks that killed 38 people in Baghdad: 61% in the Sunni province of Anbar and 80% of the Kurds. It'll be days until the results are in and probably months until a new government can formed. But already there's talk of the impact on US withdrawal. Will a new leader be able to maintain democracy? Will there be a dictatorship or an attempted coup? Will Iran gain even more influence as the US pulls away?
Lessons from Basra, Once Called an Iraqi Success Story Today's Washington Post says that, as British troops pull back from the southern Iraqi city of Basra, Shiite militias are battling among themselves . That's raising new questions about the stability of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated central government. Joost Hiltermann is Middle East Deputy Program Director of the International Crisis Group, which has produced a report on Basra .
The Lost Secrets of Saddam Hussein The Iraqi government says it's interrogating the person whose cell-phone pictures of the execution of Saddam Hussein found their way to TV and the Internet. While there's still controversy over the execution, but the consequences of Hussein's death go beyond disputes about the way he was killed. Billions of dollars are missing, mass graves are still uncovered, and countless victims will never see a murderer held to account. We look at the history of atrocities and the mysteries that Saddam took to his grave. How much help did he get from western governments and corporations? Will Iraq's current leaders pursue those questions or let them go unanswered?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.