Larry Kaplow

The Right to Defend Ourselves

Iraq's Kurds have been enthusiastic U.S. allies since before the 2003 invasion. But as the Kurds have expanded their control over their oil-rich territory—and as they reassert claims to the contested city of Kirkuk ahead of a constitutionally mandated referendum—tensions are mounting with the central government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and with Arabs and other ethnic groups.

Iraq's City of Death

Gaze over the road circling the Iraqi city of Najaf's compact center and it's clear that this spiritual capital of Shiite Islam is first and foremost a vast cemetery.

UN Human Rights Report: Torture and Detention Without Charge in Iraq

A new United Nations report on human rights in Iraq cites Iraqi prisons for continued torture of detainees, incarceration for months without charges and warns, as it has in the past, that "security may not be sustainable unless significant steps are taken in the area of human rights such as strengthening the rule of law and addressing impunity." The report (PDF), covers mainly the last half of 2008.

Maybe the Sahwa Is Hiring

The Western media's financial downfall has been felt sharply in Baghdad, where the number of American reporters has dropped significantly over the past year and bureaus are laying off Iraqi staff.

How to Vote in Iraq's Elections

With security improving, the toughest part of Saturday's Iraqi provincial elections might be educating voters about how to mark their ballots. An attempt to explain a truly complex process:  The elections are for the provincial councils in 14 of the country's 18 provinces.

A Sheik's Take on the Obama Inauguration

Last summer when Barack Obama made his only visit to Iraq, he met one of Iraq's most influential and colorful sheiks. Sheik Ali Hatim watched the inauguration last night and remembered telling Obama that his schedule for pulling troops from Iraq was too fast and could leave the country again in chaos. "I don't want you to stay forever but fix what you messed up," he says he told the then presumptive Democratic nominee. "We will not abandon you," he remembers Obama telling him.

A Harsh American Footprint

As a ceremonial and social event, the dedication of the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was an unqualified success. The sun shone on a cool winter day. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani expressed his gratitude for America's sacrifices to drive a despot from his homeland and Ambassador Ryan Crocker pledged his country's continuing support.