Weekend Roundup: Who Lost Iraq?


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

This week, as Baghdad is under siege from within and Kobani is poised to fall to ISIS fighters, the question of “Who Lost Iraq?” is taking center stage.

Many, including some former insiders, are quick to blame President Obama for pulling American troops out “too soon” — despite the fact that the Iraq war wearily tested the sacrifice and patience of Americans longer than World War I and II combined. Obama was elected in the first place to end it all.

The primary fault, more likely, lies with the blunt trauma to the region caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, the unwise dismantling of the Iraqi army and the exclusion of Sunnis from post-Saddam power arrangements. A decade later, the counter-revolution is underway. In this contest, the reticent use of 21st century air power appears to be no match for the 17th century fervor of the Islamic State’s boots on the ground.

In The WorldPost this week, the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy calls for the expulsion of modern day Turkey from NATO because of Turkey’s willful abandonment of the Kurds in Kobani. Writing from Beirut, legendary former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke traces the appeal of ISIS today to the yearning for Islamic authority after the early 20th century demise of the Ottoman Caliphate.

Religious scholar Reza Aslan tells HuffPost Live that if ISIS says it is Muslim, it is. The WorldPost also looks at another side of the story — the Syrians who are against the strikes on ISIS. Writing from Berlin, Gregor Gysi, the leader of the Left Group in Germany’s Bundestag, says his country should steer clear of any military involvement in the U.S.-led coalition to fight ISIS.

George Chen writes that Chinese Premier Li has obliquely signaled a green light for the Hong Kong authorities to talk to the protesting students, which indeed they have now appeared to have agreed to do. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from Hong Kong that the pro-umbrella movement newspaper Apple Daily is under siege by counter-demonstrators.

Writing from New Delhi, Shashi Tharoor, chair of the External Affairs Committee of the Indian Parliament, worries that China’s modernized version of the Silk Road will come at the expense of others in Asia. Fu Ying, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress and one of China’s most powerful women leaders, answers four key questions the world has about the new role and global responsibilities of the Middle Kingdom.

In this week’s Forgotten Fact, The WorldPost looks at how North Korea became so isolated.

In an interview from Gdansk, former Polish president, Solidarity leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Lech Walesa says his wary country “needs missiles to aim at Russia.”

Medical historian Howard Markel acknowledges the medical profession’s “duty to treat,” but argues that “the problem with Africa’s health is not just Ebola. It’s the lack of adequate health care — not enough hospitals, doctors, nurses, and medical supplies.” Aid worker Jolene Mullins writes from Liberia that the only way to stop Ebola there is for people to know the facts.

On the economic front, both Nobel Laureate Joe Stiglitz and Jeff Madrick score the laissez-faire policies that generate inequality and social vulnerability.

Writing from Paris, art historian Olivier Berggruen marvels at the “oddly bewitching” novels of Patrick Modiano, who was just awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports on an unusual mobile film festival in Syria and on a war of words that appears to be brewing between Egypt’s top state newspaper Al Ahram and The New York Times. Taking a break from the frontlines, she also details the “Ottoman flair” of fashion week in Istanbul.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels is the Associate Editor of The WorldPost. Nicholas Sabloff is the Executive International Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s 10 international editions. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s World Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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