Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

Iraq

Birth Defects and the Toxic Legacy of War in Iraq

In Iraq, birth defects are a visible embodiment of the enduring toxic legacy of war for future generations and the environment. War and occupation shattered public infrastructures necessary for health and well being, but also triggered cascades of environmental degradation.

Birth Defects and the Toxic Legacy of War in Iraq

Kali Rubaii 09.22.2020

In Iraq, birth defects are a visible embodiment of the enduring toxic legacy of war, burn pits, sanctions and other military interventions. War and occupation shattered public infrastructures necessary for health and well being, but also triggered cascades of environmental degradation. Kali Rubaii investigates the consequences for the forthcoming MER issue 296, “Nature and Politics.”

Big Village Interactive Documentary Tells Small Stories of a Rebel Kurdish Village

After the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iranian Kurds fighting for autonomy moved to the village Gewredê in Iraq. The online, interactive documentary Big Village reconstructs life in Gewredê in the mid-1980s, as remembered by the residents. The viewer can click on interviews, pictures, videos and texts, which makes Big Village an excellent teaching tool for studying Kurdish history and the Iranian revolution. This article is in Middle East Report, issue 295, “Kurdistan, One and Many.”

Securitizing Citizenship and Politicizing Security in Iraqi Kurdistan

It was 8 am on a scorching hot summer day. I was sitting inside a public notary office in a Kurdish border town, two kilometers away from the no-fly zone declared by the US-led coalition in 1991, and which separated the Kurdish autonomous zone from the rest of Iraq....

The Elusive Quest for a Kurdish State

Kurdish communities in the Middle East have been struggling for independence, autonomy and civil rights since at least the 1880s. While Kurdish movements across the region have suffered from fragmentation, the more formidable obstacle to fulfilling Kurdish aspirations are regional and global geopolitics. Djene Rhys Bajalan explains the many challenges, both historically and in the present day. This article is in Middle East Report, issue 295, “Kurdistan, One and Many.”

Big Village Interactive Documentary Tells Small Stories of a Rebel Kurdish Village

Peyman Jafari 08.4.2020

After the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iranian Kurds fighting for autonomy moved to the village Gewredê in Iraq. The online, interactive documentary Big Village reconstructs life in Gewredê in the mid-1980s, as remembered by the residents. The viewer can click on interviews, pictures, videos and texts, which makes Big Village an excellent teaching tool for studying Kurdish history and the Iranian revolution. Forthcoming in MER 295, “Kurdistan, One and Many.”

The Elusive Quest for a Kurdish State

Kurdish communities in the Middle East have been struggling for independence, autonomy and civil rights since at least the 1880s. While Kurdish movements across the region have suffered from fragmentation, the more formidable obstacle to fulfilling Kurdish aspirations are regional and global geopolitics. Djene Rhys Bajalan explains the many challenges, both historically and in the present day. This article is from the forthcoming issue of Middle East Report, “Kurdistan, One and Many.”

The Enduring Lessons of the Iraq Sanctions

The economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council, from 1990 to 2003, may well lay claim to be the worst humanitarian catastrophe ever imposed in the name of global governance. The unconscionable human damage done by those sanctions is...

From the Archive: Iraqibacter and the Pathologies of Intervention

Omar Dewachi 03.9.2020

As Iraq now confronts the arrival of COVID-19, its war-damaged medical infrastructure and degraded environment will make it harder to combat the virus. In 2019, Omar Dewachi explained how these same conditions transformed innocuous bacteria into dangerous drug-resistant strains.

Iraqi Protesters Thwarted by Trump’s Iran Policy

Yousef K. Baker 02.11.2020

The recent US assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Soleimani has had dire consequences for the Iraqi protest movement and its calls for substantive changes in the Iraqi political system.

Iraqis Demand a Country

Chanting “We want a country,” the youth-led protesters of Iraq are demanding nothing less than a new country as the uprising goes beyond narrowly defined political demands concerning electoral politics and legal reforms.

Weaponizing Iraq’s Archives

The Bush Administration’s exploitation of Iraqi state archives for atrocity material to justify its failing 2003 invasion of Iraq was based on precedent. The genealogy of exploiting Iraqi archives for political ends serves as a warning for how the self-evidently virtuous notion of human rights can be used to justify war.

Humanitarian Crisis Research as Intervention

Sarah Parkinson describes the growing popularity of extreme research—scholarly research conducted in crises zones amongst conflict-affected populations in the Middle East and North Africa—and shows how this research is a mode of intervention that can impose serious harm on individuals, communities, local partner universities and even humanitarian program staff.

Iraqibacter and the Pathologies of Intervention

Omar Dewachi traces the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria in war-related wounds—which US military doctors labelled Iraqibacter—to the biological legacy of decades of sanctions, war and intervention in Iraq, and how antibiotic resistance is increasingly being found in other militarized intervention zones in the region.

Preservation or Plunder? The ISIS Files and a History of Heritage Removal in Iraq

The removal of the ISIS files from Iraq is only the latest episode in a long history of seizures of Iraqi archives and artifacts by Europeans and Americans. Rather than dismiss Iraqi critics as unreasonable, everyone with a stake in the study of Iraq—including all journalists, historians, and archivists—must reckon with the enduring legacies of two centuries of Western removal of Iraqi heritage.

Iraq Dispatch

I have been conducting research in Iraq—in Basra and the outskirts of Tikrit—for roughly the last six months. Since Donald Trump’s election as US president in November 2016, when someone discovers that I live and work in the US, I am usually asked, “That friend of yours [Trump], what’s wrong with him?” Regardless of a person’s politics and where one falls (or not) on the spectrum of confessional and sectarian identities in Iraq, the general consensus currently seems to be that President Trump is, at the very least, a bit odd as a person and, more importantly, as president.

“ISIS Is One Piece of the Puzzle”

Yifat Susskind is executive director of MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization based in New York. Jillian Schwedler spoke with her on October 28, 2015, the week after Yanar Mohammed, head of MADRE’s partner group the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), testified before the UN Security Council about women’s vital role in sustainable peacebuilding and about the task of sheltering women fleeing sexual violence, including from areas controlled by ISIS.

What are the basic challenges for your work in Iraq, where the state does not fully function?

Regional Responses to the Rise of ISIS

Regional responses to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, have varied depending on regime perceptions of threat, not only from ISIS itself, but also from other potential rivals, challengers or enemies. Despite the jihadi group’s extensive use of violence in Syria and Iraq and its claims of responsibility for bombings and attacks in Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen—as well as France in mid-November—it was not necessarily the top security priority for any of these states.

Another Benghazi

Chris Toensing 08.9.2014

“We didn’t want another Benghazi.” Oh no, is that really why the Obama administration decided to bomb Iraq?

Do we have another bunch of fools in the White House who learn precisely the wrong lessons from their mistakes?

Not Much Better Than Bush

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.

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