The US troop surge in 2007 helped quiet Iraq's bloody civil war. But it failed to deliver on what US officials and officers said was crucial for Iraq's future at the time: sectarian reconciliation. Rather than forging a new national identity out of the horrors of Iraq's war, Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Arabs and ethnic Kurds sullenly retreated to their own sectarian corners, and the country's political parties remain vehicles for ethnic or sectarian interests. The next year is probably going to be the most crucial for determining the future of Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003, as Iraq's various political factions compete for power and influence without foreign troops getting in the way. Here are a few of the major players.
Iran confirmed on Sunday what has long been suspected: It is providing assistance to the Syrian government in its war against an uprising. Iran's Qods Force is also operating in Lebanon.
Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, sentenced to death yesterday by an Iraqi court, told the Monitor last month that despite his years of criticism of the US invasion, Iraq needs US involvement.
In an interview before he was sentenced to death in absentia, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi warned Iraq is on a slippery slope to more violence.
Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's vice president, was found guilty of masterminding the killings of a lawyer and a government security official. He was sentenced to death Sunday. The case has increased Sunni-Shiites tensions, as some accuse the Shiite-led government of monopolizing power. Al-Hashemi is Sunni.
Evgeny Morozov on the cult of 'TED.'
Senator Marco Rubio's foreign policy speech yesterday, taken by many as part of a campaign to be Mitt Romney's running mate, points to a politician who favors foreign interventions.