February 26, 2016 |
Why would anyone in the Middle East want to ally with the United States? There are many reasons to ask this question, but here's one I find especially disturbing: how the United States lets down thousands of Afghans and Iraqis whose lives are at risk because they have worked with Americans. For this "sin," they and their relatives are now being threatened with death. I have written of the long delays in issuing special visas for Iraqi and Afghan translators who worked with U.S. military and civilian officials.
March 18, 2012
Iraqi militia frees American citizen BAGHDAD - Wearing a U.S. Army uniform and flanked by Iraqi lawmakers, an American citizen announced Saturday that he was being released from more than nine months of imprisonment by a Shiite militia that for years targeted U.S. troops. The man did not identify himself. But at a bizarre news conference outside the Green Zone, lawmakers showed U.S.-issued military and contractor ID cards that identified him as Randy Michael Hultz. Speaking in a monotone voice, Hultz said he was grateful for his release.
November 20, 2011 |
LARNACA, Cyprus - Salam Hamrani is safe - for now. My Iraqi fixer and friend endured two years in a Baghdad jail. His crime: helping American troops nab Shiite militants who were killing his Sunni neighbors. He was finally freed and escaped with his family to Greek Cyprus. Our reunion in Larnaca was emotional and full of laughter. But Salam's story is a sad tale of U.S. failures and betrayals in Iraq. A Shiite whose uncle was hanged by Saddam Hussein, Salam was thrilled when U.S. troops ousted the dictator.
August 16, 2011 |
When was the last time you spared a thought - any thought, good or ill - for the war in Iraq? It isn't actually over, the war, though it is easy to forget that, given the paucity of U.S. news coverage. Insurgents struck three Iraqi cities only yesterday, killing at least 60 in what analysts think was an attempt to ratchet up the terror level as the U.S. and Iraqi governments discuss a continued American presence in the country past 2011. That's right: Odds are that U.S. troops will still be in Iraq in 2012, two years after the ballyhooed 2010 withdrawal of the last combat brigade.
April 10, 2011 |
BAGHDAD - A powerful anti-American Shiite cleric threatened Saturday to reactivate his feared militia if American soldiers remain in Iraq beyond this year, after a U.S. offer to keep troops on if they are needed. Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement to his followers on the eighth anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster that stopped just short of calling for violent action against U.S. forces. He accused "the occupation" of inciting panic, corruption, and unrest among Iraqis. His statement was read aloud at a protest of tens of thousands in Baghdad's Mawal Square, near Sadr's stronghold in an eastern Baghdad slum.
March 21, 2010 |
Dear Prime Minister Maliki: I'm writing you at a time when the outcome of Iraq's election is still uncertain. Your political bloc may get a plurality of votes - or not. Even if you win the most parliamentary seats, you will have to struggle to form a governing coalition, which may take months. But it's not too early for you (or any other leader who seeks your job) to respond to this question: What kind of Iraq do you want? An Iraq in which Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds are at each other's throats?
December 17, 2008 |
As soon as I arrived here, I went to visit the neighborhood of Hay Salaam, my bellwether as to the city's condition and prospects. What I saw was tremendously heartening. But my visit also revealed the question marks that dog Iraq's future as U.S. combat troops prepare to pull back from cities no later than June 30. This middle-class enclave had a Shiite majority and a sizable Sunni minority who got along before Iraq sank into sectarian strife in early 2006. As al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)
July 2, 2008 |
Whenever I am trying to get a glimpse of what's happening at street level in Baghdad, I call my friend Abbas. He is a driver and businessman, and a member of a large Shiite clan from a Baghdad neighborhood called Hay Salaam. A man of wide girth and robust laugh, he comes from a family in which Shiites have intermarried with Sunnis. He is shrewd and tough, with a sharp sense of humor that has survived events Americans can't even imagine. His uncle was hanged by Saddam Hussein, and a close relative was killed by militiamen after Hussein fell.
April 25, 2008 |
A plus for al-Maliki BAGHDAD - Iraq's largest Sunni bloc has agreed to return to Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki's Cabinet after a nearly yearlong boycott, several Sunni leaders said yesterday. They cited a new amnesty law and the government's crackdown on Shiite militias for the move. The Sunni leaders said they were working out the details of their return, an indication the deal could fall through. But such a return would represent a major political victory for al-Maliki in the midst of a military operation that has at times been criticized as poorly planned and fraught with risk.
April 24, 2008 |
A top American general yesterday urged radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to rein in his fighters as a U.S. soldier was killed in a gunbattle in a militia stronghold in Baghdad. Two bombings struck the northern city of Mosul within 30 minutes, killing four people and wounding 12 amid concerns that al Qaeda in Iraq is regrouping. Also yesterday, the Pentagon announced that President Bush is promoting his top Iraq commander, Army Gen. David Petraeus, and replacing him with the general's recent deputy, keeping the U.S. on its war course and handing the next president a pair of combat-tested commanders who have relentlessly defended Bush's strategies.