With violence down and U.S. troop deaths at their lowest point since the Iraq war began, military analysts are in near-agreement that Iraq is more secure today. But CFR's Stephen Biddle and Steven Simon disagree on how to ensure stability continues. They discuss their views during this inaugural Foreign Affairs Live debate.
In August 2008, violence re-erupted in Congo's North Kivu province. This multimedia presentation brought to you by the International Crisis Group highlights the most recent developments in the region, and provides background to the current crisis.
“Having recently returned from a research trip to Iraq, we are convinced that a total withdrawal of combat troops any time soon would be unwise,” write Stephen Biddle, Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack. Although recent success in Iraq has prompted more calls for withdrawal, a continued American presence is needed to preserve the fragile peace in that country.
Max Boot writes that Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki’s ambiguous statements about a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq are an attempt at political posturing before the upcoming presidential elections.
Congressional delegations can be illuminating despite the obvious limitations imposed by time and security concerns, writes Daniel Senor, giving Barack Obama a list of people he ought to meet on his upcoming trip to Iraq.
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on African Affairs, Michelle Gavin discusses the crisis in Zimbabwe and its prospects for resolution.
Iran’s goals of building a mutually beneficial relationship with Iraq and of undermining the American occupation are at odds with each other, writes Vali Nasr. These conflicting objectives have resulted in Tehran’s first major setback in Iraq.
“For every two steps forward in Iraq, there is also a step backward,” says Max Boot, referring to the faltering negotiations between the U.S. and Iraqi governments over the conditions of the United States’ continued presence in Iraq. Sticking points include whether U.S. soldiers and private security contractors will maintain immunity from Iraqi prosecution, and whether the U.S. will continue to have the freedom to detain terrorist suspects without Iraqi approval.
Lebanese leaders agreed on steps toward political reconciliation, but experts say the road ahead contains many potholes.
Mohamad Bazzi criticizes the Bush Administration’s “flawed understanding of basic forces in the Middle East,” by pointing out his inaccurate grouping of Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah in his speech to the Israeli Knesset. This is not the first time the President has made this mistake, says Bazzi. In his January 2007 State of the Union, he lumped Sunni and Shiite extremists as the same “totalitarian threat” with the “same wicked purposes.”
Michael Young, a political analyst in Lebanon, says the recent "Doha compromise" is not necessarily a cave-in to Hezbollah, but rather a "classic Levantine compromise."
Lebanon’s political future is uncertain, the country is on the verge of civil conflict, and Hizbollah is playing an increasingly larger role, says Mohamad Bazzi.
CFR’s Mohamad Bazzi describes the scene in Beirut, where fierce fighting has broken out between Hezbollah fighters and supporters of Lebanon’s government.
The Bush administration continues to accuse Iran of fueling violence in Iraq, even as some experts disagree on what Tehran’s objectives might be.
This report examines Muqtada al Sadr’s unilateral ceasefire in August 2007 and its effects on Iraqi security. Clashes between Sadr supporters and other Shiite militias broke out following the end of the ceasefire in February 2008. The International Crisis Group also makes recommendations for the future for the primary actors in the conflict.
Vali R. Nasr, a leading expert on Shiites, says the fighting in southern Iraq amounts to a power struggle between pro and anti-U.S. Shiite militias. The country’s Shiite prime minister, he says, is “irrelevant.”
Charles A. Kupchan and Ray Takeyh argue that “despite the tightening of U.N. sanctions, the West’s efforts to contain Iran are crumbling where it matters most: in the Middle East.”
Weston S. Konishi questions whether the Okinawa rape crisis will result in U.S. troop withdrawals from Japan.
A week before President Bush heads to Africa, violence in Kenya and an attempted coup in Chad highlight the shortcomings of conflict resolution efforts.
For more conflict prevention analysis, visit CFR's Center for Preventive Action.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Smith's insightful book explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China. More
This revolutionary new look at volatility and crisis in oil markets explores the conditions in which oil supply fears arise, gain popularity, and eventually wane. More
Maximalist finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present, revealing the history of U.S. foreign policy in an unexpected new light. More
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass.
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