mourning the magic man: ex-president talabani returns to iraq diminished

After an absence of around 19 months due to ill health, Jalal Talabani – the former President of Iraq and one of Iraqi Kurdistan’s most senior leaders – has finally returned to the semi-autonomous region amid much fanfare. Many were hoping the senior diplomat might be able to help solve some of the intractable problems the country, and Iraqi Kurdistan, is facing. Unfortunately, due to a stroke, Talabani is half the man he used to be. by Zanko Ahmad in Sulaymaniyah more

giving provinces more power: could law 21 save iraq?

How can a country like Iraq – with its different sects, religions and ethnicities – be governed appropriately? Some are now suggesting that giving all of Iraq’s provinces the powers they were granted by a law amended mid-2013 could be a way out of the current crisis. Local authorities would govern themselves better than Baghdad and Iraq would remain united. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

where do iraq’s kurds really stand: with one foot in baghdad and an eye on independence?

Ever since Sunni Muslim extremists took over the northern city of Mosul and other Iraqi territory, there has been talk of the country falling apart. Iraq’s Kurds are talking about splitting from the country and forming their own independent state. But observers are confused. Why, on one hand, are the Iraqi Kurdish speechifying about leaving Iraq and, on the other, taking oaths of national allegiance and jockeying for parliamentary power? by Hiwa Barznjy in Erbil more

iraqi pm’s talk of majority govt will come to nothing – and it’s his own fault

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has been talking about the need for a majority government because consensus politics makes getting things done impossible. But thanks to his past behaviour – where he has sidelined Parliament, effectively making any opposition powerless - he may have fallen into a trap of his own making. Nobody wants a majority government because nobody wants to be part of the powerless political opposition. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

iraqi constitution says iraqi govt is now illegal – but does anybody care?

After last week’s abject failure by the new Iraqi Parliament to achieve anything, the country is now being run by an illegal government operating in a power vacuum. Meanwhile Parliament cannot manage any business and merrily violates the Iraqi Constitution it once wrote, several times, in one single session. And nobody seems to care. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

interview with ninawa’s governor: ‘getting rid of the extremists in mosul should be easy’

Prominent Sunni Muslim politician, Atheel al-Nujaifi, who is also the governor of Ninawa province in-exile, talks about why he fled the city when Sunni Muslim extremists attacked. He also explains why the solution for the current Iraqi crisis must come from within the Sunni Muslim population, and why having the Iraqi PM resign won’t solve all the country’s problems. by Special Correspondent in Erbil more

how do you solve a problem like maliki? change the iraqi pm's job description

The Iraqi Parliament met for the first time this week. But new MPs were unable to get any further than deciding they couldn’t decide who was to be the next Prime Minister. The problem is, despite how Iraqi politics is supposed to work, the Prime Minister will hold more power than he is supposed to. Solving this problem could be the key to solving Iraq’s current crisis. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

iraq's kurds and the extremists: are they really in a secret alliance?

It is one of the many conspiracy theories in Baghdad: Iraq's Kurds betrayed the country and are secretly allied with Sunni extremists. Up north Iraqi Kurdish forces say they've been told not to shoot at ISIS and ISIS say they have no plans to attack. So is there something to those theories: What is the real relationship between the two? by Zanko Ahmad in Sulaymaniyah more

votes, not guns: iraqi kurds won kirkuk before their troops entered the city

The Iraqi Kurdish military have been criticized for taking advantage of extremist attacks and gaining control of the disputed city of Kirkuk, a place they’ve always wanted to run. But in fact, Iraqi Kurdish politicians had already won the city in Iraq’s recent general elections – the military there is just consolidating that position. by Shalaw Mohammed in Kirkuk more

no quick fix for iraq crisis: military, social, political – which is best solution?

As the crisis in Iraq unfolds, three possible scenarios seem to offer a resolution. Currently the Iraqi government is pursuing the most obvious one: The military option. But, as those in charge of the ISIS-controlled cities agree, this will never work unless other factors – social, political, international – are also considered. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
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