Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Is Iraq Serious About A US Withdrawal?

On January 29 an Iraqi government spokesman said that Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani wants the U.S. led Coalition to leave Iraq by the end of his term in office. This came after the first meeting between Baghdad and Washington to discuss a withdrawal. The question is whether Iraq is serious about this request or just playing politics with the issue.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 30 Iraq held elections for parliament to write new post-Saddam constitution


1927 1st student strike in Iraq over Lebanese teacher writing book which attacked Shiites

Teacher fired and book banned Students called for freedom of speech and teacher be reinstated Broken up by fire dept and police Al-Ahali leaders arrested

(Musings On Iraq review The Modern History of Iraq)

(Musings On Iraq review Red Star Over Iraq, Iraqi Communism Before Saddam)

(Musings On Iraq review Iraq’s Democratic Moment)

(Musings On Iraq A History Of The Iraqi Communist Party Interview With Univ of East Anglia’s Johan Franzen)

Sunday, January 28, 2024

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 28 UK claimed Mosul province which it took after WWI ended


1920 Turkish National Pact said Turkey gave up rights to all Ottoman provinces with Arab

majorities including Basra and Baghdad Did not include Mosul province which Turkey claimed had Turkish majority Kurds called Turks

(Musings On Iraq review Turkey, the US and Iraq)

Saturday, January 27, 2024

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 27 300-400 killed by police protesting against Anglo-Iraq Treaty


1925 League of Nations Commission on Mosul arrived in province to protests Was to

determine who would get Mosul Iraq or Turkey Commission interviewed hundreds of locals and mapped economy land trade routes ethnicities

(Musings On Iraq review The Modern History of Iraq)

(Musings On Iraq How The Ottoman Province Of Mosul Became Part Of Iraq)

Friday, January 26, 2024

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 26 Saddam ordered most of Iraqi Air Force to fly to Iran to save it from Gulf War Never got planes back


1941 Cabinet met and decided to resign to force PM Gaylani to resign He refused PM asked

Golden Square officers to resolve dispute Regent said he could pick PM Told military to stay out of politics

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was quoted by Paul Iddon in his article "Is This The Beginning Of The End For U.S. Troop Deployments In Syria And Iraq?" in Forbes. 

Here's a link to all of Musings On Iraq's citations.

Review Martyrs’ Day, Chronicle of a Small War

Kelly, Michael, Martyrs’ Day, Chronicle of a Small War, New York: Vintage Books, 2001


Michael Kelly was a journalist who traveled throughout the Middle East during the Gulf War. His book, Martyrs’ Day, Chronicle of a Small War reads like a travel journal. It is full of all the places he went from Iraq to Jordan to Israel to Egypt to Saudi Arabia to Turkey, the people he met and the adventures he had. There are some interesting parts like his interviews with Kuwaitis right after the Gulf War and Iraqis during the sanctions, but it is not essential reading. It’s more of a deep background book or for someone who wants a light read.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 25 Sadrists began attacks on protesters after Sadr withdrew his support for them


866 Battle of Baghdad ended Mutazz announced as new Abbasid caliph Rival Mustain exiled to Hijaz but

later executed

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Security In Iraq Jan 15-21, 2024

Pro-Iran groups escalated their attacks upon U.S. troops in Iraq in the middle of January. The Islamic State on the other hand, is back to carrying out semi-regulation operations.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 23 Iraq Survey Group head Kay resigned Said didn’t think Iraq had any WMD


1920 British cabinet decided Iraqi oil would be developed by a public company Foreign Secretary Curzon

overturned decision

(Musings On Iraq review The Modern History of Iraq)

Monday, January 22, 2024

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was mentioned in this article "US expected to strike Iraqi militias after 'huge escalation,'" in The National by Robert Tollast. 

For a full listing of Musings On Iraq's citations see here.

Iraq’s Youth Hit Hardest By Unemployment And Poverty

The World Food Program recently warned of high rates of poverty and unemployment especially amongst Iraq’s young. This contradicts official government announcements which claimed the number of poor was decreasing. That follows a trend by Baghdad to constantly downplay its social problems.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 22 Iraq set fire to 700 Kuwaiti oil wells during Gulf War


1921 Gertrude Bell wrote that British officers in Mosul province thought they could convince Kurds to

vote for Faisal as king in referendum They didn’t

(Musings On Iraq review Gertrude Bell And Iraq)

(Musings On Iraq review Gertrude Bell, Explorer of the Middle East)

(Musings On Iraq movie review Letters from Baghdad)

(Musings On Iraq review Desert Queen, The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia)

Saturday, January 20, 2024

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 20 Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance created to run Iraq 2 months before war


1915 UK troops and ships attacked Turks and Arabs in Ruta Creek, Basra Turned back Did wound Ottoman

commander in Basra who was sent to Baghdad

(Musings On Iraq review When God Made Hell, The British Invasion of Mesopotamia and the Creation of Iraq, 1914-1921)

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Musings On Iraq In The News

I was mentioned in this accompanying article as well in Akhbar Al Aan. 

For a full rundown on Musings On Iraq's citations and mentions see here.

Review When Parliaments Ruled the Middle East, Iraq and Syria, 1946-63

Rey, Matthieu, When Parliaments Ruled the Middle East, Iraq and Syria, 1946-63, Cairo New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2022


Matthieu Rey in When Parliaments Ruled the Middle East, Iraq and Syria, 1946-63 doesn’t provide a completely convincing argument that parliamentary democracy became the basis of post-World War II politics in Iraq and Syria. Rey’s thesis is that during the end of the Ottoman period until the early 1960s a new elite emerged in Iraq and Syria that wanted Western style political reforms and pushed parliamentarianism as the way to achieve them. It expanded representation but also led to divisions which eventually ended the system. Rey does prove that parliamentarism persisted in both countries despite coups and would be autocrats. On the other hand he downplays many issues like corrupt elections, how assemblies lacked power and how there were never any substantive reforms. That’s why his book doesn’t completely pass the test.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 18 UN inspectors said no WMD found at sites listed by US


1915 US consulate report UK forces in Basra under constant harassment by tribes

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Iran Kills Several Civilians In Missile Attack On Irbil In Iraqi Kurdistan



The impact of the Gaza War continues to be felt throughout the Middle East. Recently Iran made a huge escalation when it launched missiles at Irbil and killed and wounded several civilians.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 17 Saddam ordered missile strikes on Israel during Gulf War


1913 US consul in Baghdad wrote if British took Mesopotamia there would be little resistance because

public so apathetic

Monday, January 15, 2024

Sunday, January 14, 2024

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 14 Election Comm approved banning 511 candidates from 2010 election for Baathist ties Accountability & Justice Comm said more candidates and lists should be banned


1928 Abdul Sadoun became PM for 3rd of 4 times Replaced Askari who was forced to resign over opposition

to his conscription plan for army Sadoun compromise between King and England to try to get Anglo-Iraq Treaty passed

(Musings On Iraq review The Chatham House Version and other Middle-Eastern Studies)

(Musings On Iraq review Iraq Between the Two World Wars, The Militarist Origins of Tyranny)

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Review U.S. Policy In Post-Saddam Iraq

Eisenstadt, Michael and Mathewson, Eric, Editors, U.S. Policy In Post-Saddam Iraq, Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2003


Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq the Washington Institute for Near East Policy realized the United States could learn a lot from the British time in the country starting in World War I. The Institute collected together a group of Iraq experts and had them write about the United Kingdom’s experience and then make suggestions for the Bush administration. The authors provided a good history and there were plenty of lessons for the U.S. to learn. As we all know the White House thought it had all the answers and carried out a costly and highly flawed occupation as a result.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 11 Mongol siege of Baghdad began Would kill entire population of city


1258 Mongols began siege of Baghdad Would eventually kill the entire population of the


Friday, January 5, 2024

Review No Time For The Truth, The Haditha Incident And The Search For Justice

Helms, Nathaniel and Faraj, Haytham, No Time For The Truth, The Haditha Incident And The Search For Justice, New York: Arcade Publishing, 2016


No Time For The Truth, The Haditha Incident And The Search For Justice by Nathaniel Helms and Haytham Faraj is about the Haditha massacre where a group of Marines were charged with killing civilians in western Iraq in 2006. The authors were both sympathetic to the Marines with Faraj being one of their defense lawyers. They argue the Marines were following their training when they attacked two houses and therefore did not commit murder. The authors then focus upon how the government tried to scapegoat one Marine for the entire incident.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 5 Asaib Ahl Al-Haq’s Khazali released from prison in US-UK-Iraq deal to get release of British worker AAH kidnapped


1909 Riot in Mosul after Kirkuk soldier insulted a woman Organized by elites opposed to

Ottoman reforms 60 killed

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Final Results For Iraq’s Provincial Elections


The final results of Iraq’s provincial elections have been announced. The ruling Coordination Framework won the most seats and wants to control the south. That will put it into conflict with several governors that won the most votes in their governorates. On the other hand the Kurds misplayed their hand running separately because the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) wanted to dominate the community.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 4 Gen Qasim gave up claims to Kuwait


1916 British attacked Shaikh Saad in campaign to relieve troops trapped at Kut Turned back

by Ottomans 600 British casualties

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Pro-Iran Groups Continue Their Campaign Against US Forces In Iraq In Dec

Pro-Iran groups which are part of the Iraqi government’s Hashd al-Shaabi forces continued their offensive against US forces in December. The Islamic State was present as well but barely carried out any attacks.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 3 US killed Hashd leader Abu Muhandis and Iran’s Quds Force cmdr Gen Suleimani in Baghdad for rocket attacks on US personnel in Iraq



1916 Sykes and Picot drafted deal on dividing Ottoman Empire Baghdad and Basra vilayets

would go to UK Mosul to France Would also include independent Arab state for Sharif Hussein

(Musings On Iraq review Empires of the Sand, The Struggle For Mastery In The Middle East 1789-1923)

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Iraq May Ask The US-Led Coalition To Leave


Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani recently called for all Coalition forces in Iraq to leave. That came after the Biden Administration carried out its second retaliatory attack upon pro-Iran groups. The questions is whether the premier is serious about this statement or is just trying to appease the militant elements of his government.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 2 ISIS seized control of Fallujah in aftermath of PM Maliki shutting down Anbar protests

(4 News)


1915 Suleiman Bey took over Iraq Command for Ottomans Called on Arab sheikhs to join war against

British and planned on retaking Basra

Monday, January 1, 2024

Security In Iraq Dec 22-28, 2023

Security news in Iraq during the fourth week of December was once again dominated by pro-Iran groups.

This Day In Iraqi History - Jan 1 After PM Maliki shut down Anbar protest sites ISI destroyed police stations in Ramadi and Fallujah Maliki’s actions helped insurgency return


1914 UK set out from Qurna, Basra north Found Tigris River had been blocked Gunboats

couldn’t follow Forced UK to retreat back to Qurna

(Musings On Iraq review When God Made Hell, The British Invasion of Mesopotamia and the Creation of Iraq, 1914-1921)

This Day In Iraqi History - Jun 21 Ayatollah Khomeini announced Iran would invade Iraq in Iran-Iraq War

  1920 Foreign Min Lord Curzon wrote that head political officer in Iraq Wilson’s ideas were backwards and him leading ...