Analysis Brief

Bush Presses Iraqis for Progress

President Bush says “it’s time” for a new government in Iraq, which is critical to the country’s stability. Three months after parliamentary polls, Iraq is still without a national-unity government, while ongoing sectarian violence threatens to send the country into civil war.

See more in Nation Building; Iraq

Analysis Brief

Three Years In, Public Faith Flags

On the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime, violence and political uncertainty threaten to tear the country apart. The war has also taken its toll on the American public, which is growing increasingly pessimistic.

See more in Nation Building; Iraq

Analysis Brief

Violence Renews Civil War Fears

Weekend marketplace bombings kill dozens in Iraq and wound hundreds more, seem to have unleashed another wave of sectarian fighting. Three years after the United States launched a war to oust Saddam Hussein, the insurgency remains unbowed, with no real political solution in sight for the country’s new government.

See more in Nation Building; Religion; Iraq

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.

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The Problem With Vows to 'Defeat' the Islamic State

Authors: Stephen D. Biddle and Jacob Shapiro
The Atlantic

In recent weeks, ISIS has suffered territorial losses on multiple fronts, including in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The organization may look nearer to defeat than at any time in the past two years, but there is still a great deal of fighting to be done before the group is destroyed, or more likely beaten back to an underground terrorist organization as it was in 2009.

See more in Iraq; Syria; Counterterrorism