The closer the mid-term elections get, the less responsible the debate over Iraq is likely to become. Inversely, post-election political dynamics will favor arguments and options more grounded in reality than rhetoric. The national debate over the way forward in Iraq will become much more consequential the evening the votes are counted. Regardless of which party finds itself in control of Congress on Nov. 8, the new political constellation will favor a reduction in partisanship and some unusual political bedfellows. If the Republicans retain control of Congress, they will give increasingly less fealty to a lame-duck White House. Regardless of [...]
MAYSAN PROVINCE, Iraq — A Royal Air Force Merlin helicopter swoops low over the marshes of southern Iraq, over the heads of fishermen poling narrow boats along winding channels. Reeds bend and water ripples under the chopper’s rotor blast. The fishermen shield their eyes to gaze up at the roaring machine. It’s a typical encounter in the remote province of Maysan on the border with Iran. Here, more than 10,000 crude fishing boats ply the wetlands that straddle the border, providing sustenance to hundreds of thousands of Shiite “Marsh Arabs” who populate teeming villages that aren’t marked on any map. [...]
Elbowed out of the headlines by North Korea’s nuclear test, U.N. peacekeeping forces have continued to expand their presence in southern Lebanon in an atmosphere that is both nervous and uneventful, according to official reports from the area Monday. Troops from Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and other European countries have been arriving in Lebanon since early September, and taking up positions in the south alongside the Lebanese army. Their role is to ensure observance of the mid-August cease-fire that ended the 34 days of fierce fighting between Israel and Hezbollah fighters. With Iran defying admonitions by the U.N. Security Council [...]
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