The Battle for Baghdad

Baghdad is once again on the brink of civil war. The old Iraqi politics of backroom deals, corruption and violence are alive and well. An early exit may look like a bright idea now, but Iraq will be lost to us forever.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2009

photo by Lance Cpl. Michael J. O'BrienTHE SCHEMING had gone on for hours. The Iraqis were from a half dozen different political groupings, some sectarian, some secular. It was Baghdad, it was February 2009 and it was less than a month after Iraq's provincial elections. For our hosts, the purpose of the dinner was to assure me and a colleague that their coalition had enough people on its side to oust Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki in a vote of no confidence. It was one of many such meals we attended on that trip with Iraqi friends determined to prevent Maliki from spinning his recent electoral victories into absolute power.

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