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Isobel Coleman

In the run up to this spring's parliamentary elections, Iraqis are debating a new personal status law. Supporters claim that the law will give Shia more freedom to practice their religion. Opponents argue that it would promote sectarianism and seriously undermine the rights of women and children by permitting unfettered polygamy, a Taliban-like restriction on women’s movement, child marriage for girls as young as nine, unequal divorce and custody, and an end to interreligious marriage.

Barak Mendelsohn

Disowning ISIS came at some cost of reputation for al Qaeda, but the group could no longer afford to keep an affiliate that subverted central command. In the weeks and months to come, the United States would be wise to use the continued rift to promote its own interests in Iraq and Syria.

William McCants

A civil war has broken out within al Qaeda, largely because its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has tried to expand the movement too broadly. As al Qaeda affiliates open new fronts in the global jihad, they often disagree about who should call the shots.

Gideon Rose

Thanks to problems of both conception and execution, the Iraq war ended up becoming the most egregious American foreign policy failure since Vietnam. Historians will long debate what the consequences might have been of different decisions at key turning points. We at Foreign Affairs were participating in these debates in real time; here are some highlights of our coverage of the war over the last decade.

Eli Sugarman and Omar Al-Nidawi

After four years in exile, the former radical Shia militant Muqtada al-Sadr returned to Iraq in early 2011. For the past two years, he has sought to rebrand himself as a moderate with an inclusive message -- but it remains unclear whether Iraqis should accept his new persona as genuine.

Emma Sky and Harith al-Qarawee

Last month, tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to protest the government's poor treatment of Sunnis and, for the first time, to call for the overthrow of Prime Minister Maliki. Unless Baghdad starts making concessions, and soon, Sunni leaders could demand an independent region, spelling the end of a unified Iraq.

Essay, Jan/Feb 2013
Fred Kaplan

The United States' approach to counterinsurgency, championed by General David Petraeus, helped produce stunning results in parts of Iraq and Afghanistan. In retrospect, however, the fuss over the doctrine seems overblown. It achieved mere tactical successes and only in combination with other, non-military factors.

Comment, Nov/Dec 2012
Joost R. Hiltermann

Iraqi Kurdistan is reveling in its newfound oil wealth and growing more estranged from the violent and dysfunctional central government in Baghdad. Yet statehood -- the ultimate dream of Iraqi Kurds -- will likely be deferred once again, as Kurdistan shifts from Iraq’s suffocating embrace to a more congenial dependence on Turkey.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2012
Linda Robinson

With the rise of endless irregular wars playing out in the shadows, special operations have never been more important to U.S. national security. But policymakers and commanders focus too much on dramatic raids and high-tech drone strikes. They need to pay more attention to an even more important task these forces take on: training foreign troops.

Rolf Ekéus and Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer

In the run-up to the Iraq War, diplomacy and weapons inspections became a means to an end: building a casus belli. That was a mistake then, and it is becoming one now, too.

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