Kirk H. Sowell is the principal of Utica Risk Services, a Middle East-focused political risk firm.
The aggressive rhetoric surrounding Kurdistan’s largely symbolic independence referendum risks triggering armed conflict in ethnically mixed territories.
Amid low enthusiasm for local elections intended to decentralize governance in Jordan, Islamists and their tribal allies have gained political ground.
Abadi is using the narrative of victory in Mosul to distract from dire policy issues that cannot be resolved in the near future.
Debates over how to oversee and tally votes in Iraq’s provincial and national elections could spill over into popular unrest.
Despite the apparent military success in Mosul, the state’s ineffectiveness has driven a reliance on airstrikes and put pressure on Abadi’s government.
The operation to retake Mosul is part of a broader power struggle between Baghdad and Ankara over spheres of influence in northern Iraq.
Though the Muslim Brotherhood won a plurality of seats in Jordan’s elections, the biggest takeaway was the continued fragmentation of the vote within a weak field of parties.
Jordan’s weakened Islamists are building alliances with tribal candidates to boost votes in the upcoming elections.
Jordan’s latest government and constitutional changes could allow the monarchy to shift the burden of austerity to an elected government
Tensions among Haider al-Abadi, Muqtada al-Sadr, and their rivals result from power struggles, not real disputes over reform.