Analysis Brief

After Three Years of War, Concerns Abound

With the anniversary of the war in Iraq approaching, the United States finds itself mired in a conflict rocked by sectarian violence, an unbowed Islamic insurgency, political bickering, and uneasiness at home about the ability of U.S.-led forces to find a way out.

See more in Wars and Warfare; Iraq

Analysis Brief

New Attacks Revive Civil War Fears

A string of attacks in Baghdad renew fears of sectarian civil war a week after the bombing of a Shiite mosque in Samarra. The continuing violence has forced a debate in Washington over U.S. troop levels in Iraq and threatens to delay the formation of a new Iraqi national-unity government.

See more in Religion; Iraq; Nation Building

Analysis Brief

Iraq Politics, Media Beguile U.S.

Internal political rivalries, a stubborn, unbowed insurgency, and allegations of Shiite death squad activity all are challenging Washington's ability to influence events in Iraq. Added to those problems, says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is a global media environment "extremely hostile to the West."

See more in Iraq; Defense and Security; Nation Building

Analysis Brief

Rivalries Stalk Iraq Government Talks

As Iraq’s new government begins to take shape, the country’s leaders will be hard-pressed to form a national-unity government that can upgrade its security forces and hold off insurgents without falling prey to the country’s internal rivalries.

See more in Iraq; Nation Building

Analysis Brief

Jaafari Wins Nod to Lead Iraq

Iraq’s ruling Shiite bloc picked Ibrahim al-Jaafari to stay on as prime minister, casting doubts on the ability of Iraqi leaders to form a national-unity government. A moderate Islamist, Jaafari has been criticized for his lack of charisma and leadership skills.

See more in Elections; Iraq

Analysis Brief

Iraqis Divided on New Government

Will Iraq's various factions be able to overcome their sectarian differences to build a new government? Looking ahead, as Iraq's political parties vie for cabinet positions, there is some concern that Shiites—who won most of the votes in December's parliamentary elections—may exclude Sunnis from the more powerful government posts.

See more in Elections; Iraq

Analysis Brief


Official results indicate Shiite parties dominated the December 15 parliamentary election, though they fell short of an absolute majority. Experts say the stage is now set for a coalition government in which Kurdish politicians will hold the balance of power.

See more in Iraq; Elections

Analysis Brief


More than seventy journalists have been killed in Iraq, while several dozen have been kidnapped, including Jill Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor.

See more in Iraq


Testing the Surge: Why Did Violence Decline in Iraq in 2007?

Authors: Stephen D. Biddle, Jeffrey A. Friedman, and Jacob Shapiro
International Security

Examining the decline of violence in Iraq at the end of 2007, Stephen Biddle, Jeffrey A. Friedman, and Jacob Shapiro argue, "A synergistic interaction between the surge and the [Sunni] Awakening was required for violence to drop as quickly and widely as it did: both were necessary; neither was sufficient."

See more in Wars and Warfare; Defense and Security; Iraq; United States


Iraq: Baghdad Without America

Author: Max Boot

Max Boot says that at the moment, Iraq is an uneasy mixture of good and bad, volatile and stable, healthy and diseased—a strange witches' brew that could blow up or, just possibly, turn into an elixir for the entire region.

See more in Iraq; Military Operations