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Al-Maliki Raises Hopes For A More Stable Iraq
By Ilan Berman, Jane's Defence Weekly, July 14, 2008

Give Nouri al-Maliki credit. Since assuming his post in May 2006, Iraq's embattled prime minister has been written off by more than a few observers as an agent of Iranian influence or a cat's paw of the US-led Coalition. However, since early this year, Al-Maliki has definitively proven that he is neither. In the process, he has moved his country considerably closer to lasting stability.

Europe Holds The Key To Iran
By Ilan Berman, Guardian (London), June 18, 2008

Officials in Europe are beginning to sound more and more like their American counterparts when it comes to Iran. In the wake of President Bush's trip to Europe, they even appear to be moving towards freezing the assets of Iran's largest bank as a way of signalling their resolve over Tehran's nuclear intransigence. In recent months, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned publicly that a nuclear Iran poses an "unacceptable risk for regional and world stability," and his government has taken the lead in calling for tougher international sanctions against the Islamic republic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made similar noises. "If Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons, it would have disastrous consequences," Merkel told Israel's parliament, the Knesset, during her visit there in March. "We have to prevent this." In practice, however, Europeans are sending a very different signal. Indeed, recent days have seen the Old Continent deal a body blow to efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.

Bad Timing In Basra
By James S. Robbins, National Review Online, April 8, 2008

What a difference eight months makes. Last September, General David Petraeus was essentially branded a liar for reporting to Congress that the situation in Iraq was improving markedly, that the so-called “surge” strategy was achieving its intended aims. Today, the general returns with more good news: violence in the country down 75 percent; Sunni sheiks cooperating with the government and Coalition (the “Anbar awakening”); and al-Qaeda in Iraq severely weakened and on the run. Unfortunately, General Petraeus will no doubt have to contend with a barrage of questions about the recent weeks’ fighting in Basra and Baghdad.

Small Steps: Iraq Edges Toward a Stable Future
By Ilan Berman, Jane's Defence Weekly, April 2, 2008

Slowly but surely, Iraq is turning a corner. In February, the Iraqi parliament approved two major measures aimed at normalising that country's fractious political scene. As significant as it is, however, this progress represents just one part of a larger picture. Indeed, future stability in Iraq may hinge as much on what transpires on two other strategic fronts as it does on the events now taking place in the so-called 'Sunni Triangle'.

An Obsolete Alliance
By E. Wayne Merry, The Journal of International Security Affairs, April 1, 2008

It is axiomatic that nothing in government is so long lasting as temporary measures. Policies, programs and appropriations initiated to respond to a transitory issue take on lives of their own, spawning institutions which not only outlive their purpose but themselves create new problems to justify their continued existence. On the international stage today, the most egregious example of this principle is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). An alliance created in response to the devastation of the Second World War in Europe and the onset of the Cold War is now approaching its seventh decade, two generations beyond the restoration of Europe’s economy plus a large measure of European unity and a full generation beyond Gorbachev’s acceptance of failure in the Cold War.

Quiet Victory?
By James S. Robbins, National Review Online, March 20, 2008

Has it really been five years since the advent of Operation Iraqi Freedom? The war has gone on far too long, and been far too expensive. The mistakes made in the crucial transition period from major combat operations to “Phase Four” stability operations will be reviewed and debated for decades. But as the president pointed out in his Iraq-war anniversary speech at the Pentagon Wednesday, the comprehensive “surge” strategy has been working. The surge has been a runaway good-news story. And there is no more certain sign of progress in the war than its disappearance from media coverage. Stories on Iraq comprised only 3 percent of the news in the first ten weeks of 2008, compared to 23 percent a year ago — an 87 percent drop. “Good news” has turned out to be an oxymoron. No bleed, no lede.

Turf War
By Ilan Berman, The Journal of International Security Affairs, March 1, 2008

It has been nearly five years since President George W. Bush stood on the deck of the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln and announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq. During that time, the United States has gotten a first-hand education in the complex ideological and religious frictions that simmer below the surface in the Muslim world. And while the Bush administration’s “surge” has now helped the Coalition regain the initiative in the former Ba’athist state, it has become abundantly clear that if Washington and its allies hope to maintain—and, better yet, to expand—their influence in the region as a whole, they still have a great deal to learn about what makes its inhabitants tick.

‘Enter Islam or Else!’
By James S. Robbins, National Review Online, January 10, 2008

Adam Gadahn, a.k.a. Azzam al Amriki, has come a long way since his days living on a goat farm and playing in his one-man death metal band Aphasia. The 30-year-old California native has quickly become the American face of al Qaeda. Azzam’s purpose is to make an appeal to the American people, to explain the current situation in the war and to exhort them to join in supporting al Qaeda and its cause.

The National Intelligence Guesstimate
By Ilan Berman, The American Spectator, December 6, 2007

In recent weeks, the White House appeared to be gaining serious ground in its efforts to cobble together an international consensus to confront Iran. Today, however, Administration officials are desperately trying to put the pieces of their Iran policy back together. The culprit is the intelligence community's new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which asserts that the Iranian regime currently is not in the business of making nuclear weapons.

Losing The War Of Ideas?
By Robert R. Reilly, The Claremont Institute, December 4, 2007

After a short two-year tenure, Karen Hughes now departs as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She concentrated on the public affairs area of her job by creating the Rapid Response Unit and regional media hubs—things that anyone would find hard to believe the U.S. government was not already doing before her arrival. Hughes inherited the detritus from the 1999 destruction of the U.S. Information Agency, and tried to put back some of the missing building blocks of public diplomacy. However, by almost every index, we are not doing well in the war of ideas. Some say we have already lost.