Kirk H. Sowell is the principal of Utica Risk Services, a Middle East-focused political risk firm.
Losing control of his campaign narratives, Iraq’s incumbent prime minister is facing questions about his credentials on nationalism, security, and public services.
Jordan has managed to reduce budgetary deficits for 2018, but rising operational costs and stagnant sources of revenue will keep it reliant on foreign aid.
After several early stumbles in his campaign, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will likely end up with a narrow plurality in a highly fragmented field.
Jordan is making a concerted effort to address unemployment by restricting foreign labor and promising increased vocational training.
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.