The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has faced challenging times before, but in recent months, Tehran has been confronted with one crisis after another. The threats of severe international sanctions over its nuclear program are mounting, just as domestic strife undermines the legitimacy of the regime. With its plate so full, why did Iran suddenly decide to taunt Iraq — a country with which it fought an eight-year war — by provocatively raising the Iranian flag on an Iraqi-controlled oil field? The answer may point to even more trouble on the horizon for Iran’s leaders. The startling news […]

With Investors Circling, Iraq Works to Create Oil Protocol

As Iraq opens up its oil fields to outside investment and signs MOUsand contracts with global firms, Iraq’s oil laws come under scrutiny.Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq’s oil minister, and Issam al-Chalabi, theformer Iraqi oil minister speak with Al-Jazeera about Iraqi oil law –past, present and future.

Human Error vs. Cybersecurity

For some reason, coverage of the intelligence failures involving U.S. drones in Iraq as well as the U.S.-South Korea defense plans is insisting on framing the lapses as “hacking” and “cyberintelligence,” when both were the result of human error. In the case of the drones, as the Danger Room piece above points out, a known security loophole was left unchecked, and in the latter, the plans were apparently made vulnerable because they were downloaded to an unsecured USB key. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: If I could do it, it ain’t hacking. And I’m pretty sure I could have […]

Fissures in Iraq Security Forces Cause Confusion and Concern

International firms are raising security concerns as they compete fordeals to exploit Iraq’s oil fields. In light of a recent increase inviolence, major companies want reassurance that their investments willbe protected. Local Iraqis say security problems lay within afragmented system, often pitting local and central government forcesagainst one another.

This Week’s WPR Video Highlights

Here are a few of this week’s highlights from WPR’s video section: – President Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan this week. In this press conference, the leaders discuss a wide range of issues. In a twist, following Erdogan’s visit to the U.S., the Turkish ambassador to the United States resigned from his post. – As Obama’s new Afghan strategy begins to be implemented, experts in this VOA video say Pakistan must play a key role. – RussiaToday reports on a new Russia-India nuclear deal. The move to intensify bilateral ties comes on the heels of Prime Minister Manmohan […]

Blasts in Iraq Disturb Momentary Calm

Recent attacks in Iraq have shaken Iraqi security gains after a periodof relative calm. The most recent attack, killing 170 people andinjuring hundreds more, coincided with the announcement of a newpresidential election date. Jane Arraf of the Christian Science Monitorand Global Post talks to NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill about the mood inBaghdad, Obama’s election intervention and from where this new wave ofviolence may be coming.

This Week’s WPR Video Highlights

Here are a few of this week’s highlights from WPR’s video section: -Romanians are discouraged by their choices for the next president as election day approaches. The Wall Street Journal reports in this video. -Kosovo meets resistance in its fight for independence. This Al Jazeera video shows the push back coming from Belgrade. -Residents of Gyumri, Armenia’s once-prospering second city, contemplate the significance of an open border with Turkey in this WSJ video. -United NationsSpecial Representative in Iraq Ad Melkert discusses the political climate in Iraq in this New America Foundation video. And if you missed our Afghanistan strategy video […]

The Political Pulse in Iraq

Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation talks with United NationsSpecial Representative in Iraq Ad Melkert. Melkert says that Iraqis arebeginning to feel the weight of responsibility as the fate of the “newIraq” is increasingly placed in their hands. In that vein, Melkert sayshe thinks the stalled Iraqi election will take place “reasonably soon.”

When the White House first announced President Barack Obama’s decision to give a speech in Cairo in order to “reset” U.S.-Muslim relations last June, American pundits from the left and right criticized the speech’s location, its timing and its presumed content. Skepticism dominated Middle Eastern commentary as well. In a region battered by conflict and profoundly suspicious of Western intentions, the history of the 20th century, as taught in schools, was dominated by the narrative of colonialism and national liberation, war and resistance. From this perspective, Britain and France simply passed the imperial torch to the United States. So the […]