As Iraq gears up for general elections scheduled for April 30, the political constellation that has allowed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stay in power for two terms is realigning in unexpected ways, raising questions about Maliki’s ability to retain Iraq’s top job. Apart from the similar context of violence in which it will likely take place, this round of voting will be greatly different from the three other national elections held since 2005. First, the country’s political landscape is more fragmented than it used to be. Former large alliances have given way to smaller entities, even as the electoral […]

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On Sunday, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan racked up an astounding victory in municipal elections. The party’s success came despite waves of civil unrest last year, the economy taking a downturn, daily revelations about corruption in the highest echelons of government and a crackdown on online media. There are many political and socio-economic reasons for the AKP’s dominance, but in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast, Erdogan was able to count on one unexpected campaigner on his behalf: the president of the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, Massoud Barzani. On Nov. 18, facing his darkest […]