Of "Instructors" and Interests in Iraq

by Reidar Visser | published August 22, 2011

The Obama administration repeatedly declares that it is “on track” to withdraw all US military forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, in keeping with candidate Barack Obama’s signature promise to “end the war in Iraq.” But, even as the White House avows this intention, policymakers in Washington repeatedly express their hope that the Iraqi government will ask some US troops, perhaps 10,000 or more, to stay past December. In an ideal world, US strategists would like the Iraqis to decide to extend the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed in late 2008, which provides legal cover for the US military presence in post-invasion Iraq. A series of summertime developments in Iraq have now made it clear that no such straightforward extension is forthcoming.

Calculating "Collateral Damage"

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER169

Early reports of casualties in Iraq provided only a scattershot picture of damage to residential areas and loss of civilian life, not a clear sense of scope or scale. Only on February 11, after four weeks of intense bombing, did Iraqi officials acknowledge that civilian deaths were in the range of 5,000-7,000. Then, on February 13, two US “smart bombs” smashed into a Baghdad bomb shelter, incinerating hundreds of women and children gathered there.

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Editor's Bookshelf

by Joel Beinin
published in MER170

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Iraqi Contractors: Clients, Loyal Supporters or Interlopers

by Kiren Aziz Chaudhry
published in MER170

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On the Way to Market

Economic Liberalization and Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait

by Kiren Aziz Chaudhry
published in MER170

Report of the UN Mission to Assess Humanitarian Needs in Iraq

by
published in MER170

Conditions in Iraq in the aftermath of the US military assault have been difficult to ascertain. The most authoritative report to date is that of the UN mission led by Undersecretary-General Martti Ahtisaari, which spent March 10-17 in Iraq. The mission, which included representatives of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other UN programs, had intended to examine conditions first in Kuwait and then Iraq, but the Kuwaiti authorities requested it delay its arrival there until a UN Environment Program mission had completed its work.

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Eyewitness: Iraq

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER171

Joost Hiltermann, an editor of this magazine, traveled through Iraq from March 23 to April 10, 1991, as Middle East field coordinator of the Boston-based organization Physicians for Human Rights. The delegation, whose mission was to study the impact of the Gulf war and civil conflict on the health of Iraq’s civilian population, went to Baghdad, Basra, al-Zubayr, Karbala’, Najaf, Kirkuk, Suleimaniya and Erbil.

Dilemmas of Relief Work in Iraq

by Atallah Kuttab
published in MER174

The allied attack on Iraq in January-February 1991, and the hardship inflicted on the civilian population, prompted many UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to mobilize relief efforts in the country. I spent seven weeks in May and June leading a relief team in southern Iraq. Relief work was already underway in the Kurdish north, in the center (Baghdad) and in the largely Shi‘i south.

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