Small Wars Journal

Iraq

On the Verge of Civil War-Iraq Post Protests

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 2:22pm
Protests in Iraq continue despite the harsh measures against those participating. Starting Thursday night, October 24th, crowds of protesters in Baghdad, Babel and Nasiriyah gathered to prepare for more protests. The vast majority of those participating according to the field reports, were males between 15-35 years old. Then Friday morning protests started again in earnest, renewing calls for reform and action. This time both men and women and high school aged boys and girls, joined the protests.

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“American Spy” Chapter Excerpt: Iraq Intelligence Failure SWJED Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:40am
This story could have been included in the previous chapter [“Ignore My Intelligence at Your Peril (I Am Not As Stupid As I Look)”], but as you will read, this premeditated intelligence failure in Iraq is so mind-boggling in nature that it deserves a chapter all its own. Technically it was not an intelligence failure; it was a spectacular tactical intelligence success story, followed by an unconscionable bureaucratic failure to properly manage an invaluable ongoing counterterrorism intelligence operation.

MacArthur, Eisenhower, and the Lost Lessons of Building Partnership Capacity

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 12:41am
Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower justifiably have become legends for their accomplishments while commander World War II’s Pacific and Northern European campaigns. Yet even with renewed focus on great power conflicts, future commanders are more likely to face missions similar to what these officers faced in the Philippines prior to the war than the continent-wide conventional campaigns they are better known far.

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Levantistan and The Confederacy of Afghanistan: How Redrawing the Map Can End America’s Wars

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 1:02am
Nation-state borders are not sacrosanct. Exchanging land for peace is always a viable option, and this could provide a solution to America’s involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Although multiple solutions are available, we will focus on two: merging nations and fragmenting nations. Merging nations would entail merging Iraq with Syria, and merging Afghanistan with Pakistan. Fragmenting nations would break up the two nations into numerous smaller nations, as happened to Yugoslavia, albeit peacefully.

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America’s Strategic Options in the Middle East SWJED Tue, 01/15/2019 - 1:11am
Before he resigned, former Defense Secretary James Mattis was reportedly working in conjunction with the Department of State to revise US policy in the Middle East. Whatever vision Mr. Mattis had will have likely died when he left office - but he had the right idea in undertaking a review.

Iraq’s Power Vacuum: A Counterfactual Analysis of Saddam Hussein’s Authoritarian Rule

Tue, 01/01/2019 - 3:17am
If Saddam Hussein had remained in power, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as Daesh, may not have been able to secure a foothold and establish dominance in the region. This counterfactual approach specifically assesses Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship as a stabilizing factor in the state of Iraq, effectively opposing transnational terrorist networks like Daesh.

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How the 2011 US Troop Withdrawal from Iraq Led to the Rise of ISIS

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 4:42pm
The United States was on the verge of achieving a lasting victory in the Iraq War after a costly seven-year occupation and the deaths of nearly 4,500 U.S. troops. In 2006, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had lost its charismatic leader and chief strategist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Over the next few years, the organization lost its base of support as Iraq’s Sunni tribes turned against it and began fighting beside US and Iraqi troops to eject the terrorists from their communities. By 2010, Iraq had emerged from its civil war and AQI had become irrelevant. Then, President Barack Obama made two strategic mistakes that reversed that progress and sent Iraq spiraling back down the path of sectarian violence.

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Advise, Assist and Enable in Iraq: It’s a Human Thing

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 12:53am
Over the fourteen months from September 2016 to November 2017, the Iraqi Security Forces wrestled their nation from the clutches of the Islamic State in some of the fiercest and most brutal urban combat experienced since World War Two. In May 2017, the Australian Special Operations Task Group Rotation VII took over the great work of previous rotations in advising, assisting and enabling the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, our primary partners.

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What We Can Learn About 21st Century Wars From The Byzantines

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 10:36am
General John “Mick” Nicholson, the outgoing commander of US forces in Afghanistan, recently created some controversy by stating that US strategy in Afghanistan is working. If he had been a senior commander of the Byzantine Empire, his comments would have made nary a public ripple. He would have been stating a plain fact of the new strategic normal.

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