"Mosul Will Never Be the Same"

An Interview with Omar Mohammed

by Omar Mohammed
published in MER287

In June 2014, the self-declared Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) launched an assault on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Within days, the Iraqi army collapsed and ISIS proclaimed its sovereignty over the city. An anonymous blog named Mosul Eye began reporting on life under ISIS rule. With details about daily life alongside social and historical analysis, Mosul Eye documented the transformations that ISIS imposed on Mosul—including the expulsion of Shiites and Christians, the enslavement of Yazidis, strict gender segregation, rape, torture and executions—as well as the impact of air strikes by the US, Turkish, and Iraqi militaries. Coalition forces defeated ISIS in July 2017.

Caught in the Circle of Punishment

by Omar Al-Jaffal
published in MER286

The politics, sensibilities and lives of Iraqis born in the 1970s and 1980s were intimately shaped by harsh US sanctions on essential and non-essential goods, Saddam Hussein’s wars and the US invasion in 2003 with its devastating war and aftermath. What can a young Iraqi possibly hope for now?

 

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Iraq Dispatch

by Hayder al-Mohammad
published in MER283

“He’s a murderer, a criminal ... So many people were killed because of him!” Umm Ahmed asserts. “OK. Forget about Obama, he’s gone. What about Trump? What do you think of him?” I ask. “... I’m ...we’re ... he’s crazy, no?” [1]

Some Initial Thoughts on the Chilcot Report

published July 8, 2016 - 11:45am

On July 6, an independent inquiry into British involvement in Iraq from the summer of 2001 to July 2009 released its report. Chaired by Sir John Chilcot, a veteran Whitehall mandarin, the inquiry was set up in 2009 by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The delay in publication of the report was partly a result of the sheer volume of material—nearly 150,000 documents and countless interviews, including several with Tony Blair, prime minister at the time of the 2003 invasion—that the panel examined. And it was partly a result of efforts that crossed party lines to wiggle out of publication.

The Next Round of an Unwinnable War Beckons

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers | published September 17, 2014

Once again, a U.S. president vows to eliminate an extremist militia in the Middle East to make the region, and Americans, safe.

And that means it’s time again for a reality check. Having failed in its bid to destroy the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the United States is still trying to dismantle both organizations. Over the course of 13 years of war, that mission has spread to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali, and West Africa, as militant groups on two continents have adopted the al-Qaeda brand.

Not Much Better Than Bush

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers | published July 23, 2014

President Barack Obama got it right when he declared: "There's no military solution inside of Iraq, certainly not one that is led by the United States."

But his Iraq track record doesn’t mark much of an improvement over the mess his predecessor made.

Petraeus’ Real Failure

by Laleh Khalili | published June 12, 2014 - 11:38am

On the sidelines of the catastrophic failure of the Iraqi army to hold back the militias of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (or ISIS, as it is usually known), and the fall of Mosul to that group, a debate is taking place in the United States about whether this turn of events is yet another black mark in the massive ledger of retired Gen. David Petraeus. As Anne Barnard of the New York Times tweeted, “Remember the ‘Mosul miracle’ under Petraeus?”

Modernizing Memorial Day

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers | published May 28, 2014

Whoever made the decision to open the National September 11 Memorial Museum just a few days before Memorial Day was both bold and intuitive. The theme of remembrance unites both events, but the 9/11 memorial is a departure because it is dedicated to those so often forgotten in the recollection of national sacrifice—civilians.

Death and Taxes

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers | published April 15, 2014 - 12:25pm

Last year 27 cents of every income tax dollar in the United States went to the military. Even so, that proportion has not generated enough revenue to pay for the military’s operations over the last 13 years, which, in a historic departure, have been funded largely by borrowing.

Iraqi Christians: A Primer

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers
published in MER267

Media coverage in the West can overstate the degree to which Christians are “disappearing” from the Middle East. But one place where such characterizations have merit is Iraq. In the years since the 2003 invasion led by the United States, at least half of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country to escape the violence of war, occupation and insurgency, as well as a campaign of intimidation, forced expulsion and sectarian cleansing carried out by militias and criminal gangs. Numerous others have been internally displaced.