This week we provide some reading suggestions on the most recent dramatic developments occurred in Iraqi crisis. First of all, look at the Guardian – Middle East Live for having a full and updated coverage of all breaking news.
Second, for a broader perspective on the harsh relationship between Washington and Maliki see this excellent post by Marc Lynch at The Monkey Cage.
Barbara Walter has provided (here) the most brilliant analysis of the current situation. In summary, what are the causes of the increasing violence in Iraq? US policy? Spillover effect from Syria? Something related to oil? No. “Violence in Iraq is not the result of the war in Syria, or the absence of American troops, or Sunni-Shiite hatred, or oil. It’s the result of a political system dominated by one group in society to the exclusion and detriment of another”. 100% agree. The author illustrates also some interesting insights from literature on civil wars. Yes, IR theories are useful (sometimes).
Going back to recent years, we strongly recommend two books on the war in Iraq (by the same author, Tom Ricks): “Fiasco” and “The Gamble”. They’ll give you a comprehensive and vivid account of what happened during “Iraqi Freedom”: mistakes, strategy, and illusions.
Ricks (in a sense) supported the COIN approach adopted by General Petraeus. For an empirical analysis of the effects of the “surge”, our final suggestion is this article by Stephen Biddle et al on “International Security”. In first pages you’ll find a lot of useful references to different perspectives on this controversial issue. Now, after some years, only one thing seems to be clear: the US approach failed to promote political reconciliation (which was the key premise for the political success of the external intervention).