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Iraq

After Maliki, Abadi Is Iraq's Next Great Hope

The U.S. has a poor record on Iraq, but it's optimistic that cooperation with the country's new prime minister can help him win the war against terrorists and restore regional stability.

Haider al-Abadi
Haider al-Abadi
Ansgar Graw and Alfred Hackensberger

ERBIL For accurate prognoses about developments in Iraq, don't ask anybody in Washington. The series of momentous misjudgments out of the mouths of important U.S. politicians first began with George W. Bush's assertion that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. And who can forget that, after the capture of Baghdad in May 2003, Bush gave a speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln under a large banner that read "Mission accomplished."

But the mission was by no means accomplished. His successor, President Barack Obama, carried on with these directionless assessments when he said, upon the 2011 withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq, that the Americans were leaving behind a "sovereign, stable and independent Iraq."

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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