Author: Barbod Pournajar

The Wars To Come: The Future Of Iraq

Earlier this month the last ISIS stronghold has been overrun by coalition forces in the Middle East. While Kurds, Syrians, and Iraqis alike may rejoice in their victory over crazed fanatics, this is not the end of the bloodshed, the misery, and the depravity of the Middle East. For there are many questions still lingering in the realm of the Middle East: There is the Kurdish question, that is, do Kurdish forces have the right to self-determination in constructing their own state? There is the Iraqi question, that is, how will the Sunni north react to the Shia government of Iraq? There is the Syrian question, that is, how and when will the conflict end? In the face of these questions, the penultimate one is: What is the future of the Middle East? One of the principle victories of the coalition intervention of 2003, executed by then-President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair under the guise of American exceptionalism and liberation, was the establishment of a semi-autonomous Kurdish state in the northern area of …

The Rise of ISIL: Threats and Opportunities

  How Did We Get Here? On September 10th, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his much-anticipated address on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and vaguely outlined an American strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” this frightening jihadist organization, which had recently beheaded two American journalists. Notwithstanding Obama’s reputation as a brilliant orator, this is surely the one speech that he never wanted to make, and that his dovish core constituency never wanted to hear. Scarcely five years after he swept into the White House on the heels of his predecessor’s disastrous War in Iraq, the President seemed poised to re-commit American armed forces to that troubled Middle Eastern country, and its even more volatile Syrian neighbour. Although originating as an obscure Sunni Muslim terrorist group that fought American forces and Iraqi Shi’a during that nation’s bloody civil war of 2006-07, ISIL first seized worldwide attention when its fighters swept across northern Iraq in early 2014, capturing predominantly Sunni Arab cities such as Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi and Tikrit, along …