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Recent Articles and Commentary  

"Rifts Increase Iraqis' Fear for the Future"
"The closer Iraqis get to sovereignty," writes New York Times reporter Neela Banerjee, "the more they voice fears that ethnic and religious differences could fracture their nation. ... In the angry clamoring of Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and of Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds in the north, many Iraqis, foreign diplomats and allied military officers say they discern the first smoke of broad communal strife." (The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2004; free registration required.)

 

"U.S. Says Files Seek Qaeda Aid in Iraq Conflict"
Dexter Filkins of The New York Times reports: "American officials [in Baghdad] have obtained a detailed proposal that they conclude was written by an operative in Iraq to senior leaders of Al Qaeda, asking for help to wage a 'sectarian war' in Iraq in the next months." (The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2004; free registration required.)

 

"As Kurds Mourn, Resolve Hardens"
The Washington Post's Daniel Williams reports on the aftermath of two devastating suicide bombings in the northern Iraqi city Erbil on Feb. 1: "A city long accustomed to mourning the losses of war was draped in black Monday for victims of dual suicide bombings that shocked and frightened its ethnic Kurdish inhabitants and hardened their determination to obtain autonomy in postwar Iraq." (The Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2004; free registration required)

 

"A Hole in the Heart of Kurdistan"
In an Op-Ed article on the effects of the Feb. 1 suicide bombings in Erbil, former U.S. Ambassador Peter Galbraith writes, "Public pressure will increase on both parties to end the division of the region between the Kurdistan Democratic Party government here in the north and the Patriotic Union government in Sulaimaniya to the south. Indeed, the parties have already agreed on the terms for a unified government. ... The bombings on Sunday will reinforce widely shared doubts about a closer association with Baghdad." (The New York Times, Feb. 3, 2004; free registration required)

 

"The Candidate"
"Most Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis are united in their dislike of foreign troops on their soil," writes The New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson in an indepth look at Shiite political leader Abdul Aziz al Hakim, "and it is this sentiment, which transcends ethnic and religious loyalties, that could make it possible for an essentially Shia government to keep the peace in Iraq." Anderson was researching the story when FRONTLINE interviewed him in Iraq. (The New Yorker, Feb. 2, 2004)

 

"The Shiite Surge"
In an extended essay on the Shiites, journalist David Rieff observes, "[T]he entry of Sistani and the rest of the Najaf clerical hierarchy into the fray has almost certainly changed the rules of the game in Iraq, not just in terms of the actual decision on what sort of election will be held, but in terms of Iraq's entire post-Saddam Hussein future. Insurgents can harass and kill U.S. forces, but they are doing little to shift power their way in Iraq." (The New York Times Magazine, Feb. 1, 2004; free registration required)

 

"Picking Up the Pieces"
Reporter Andrew Scutro rides with the 490th Army civil affairs unit in and around Baghdad. "When they got attacked on Christmas Eve (it was the fourth time they'd been hit), they were driving back from a school they'd spent a lot of time and effort rebuilding -- working with local contractors, and paying out thousands of dollars." (Monterey County Weekly, Jan. 14, 2004)

 
Iraqi Government and Politics  

Coalition Provisional Authority: Iraqi Governing Council
A summary of the council's members from the official CPA web site; includes a list of Iraqi departmental ministers.

 

Council on Foreign Relations: Iraq's Governing Council
A thorough FAQ that addresses some of the more common concerns about the council

 

BBC News: Iraqi Governing Council Members
Complete list of council members that puts faces to the names, with a brief bio for each that explains religious and political affiliations.

 

BBC News: Who's Who in Post-Saddam Iraq
An overview of the major religious and secular figures and organizations playing key roles in the rebuilding of Iraq.

 

A Guide to Iraq's Shiite Clerics
Slate offers profiles of prominent Shiite figures, though written prior to Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim's murder in August 2003. (Slate, May 10, 2003)

 

Imam Ali Foundation
An informational Web site for followers of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, run by his liaison office in London.

 

Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi office
The official web site for the prominent Shiite cleric, one of five living grand ayatollahs in Iraq, featuring news, guidance, and views on issues pertaining to Islam. (Read FRONTLINE's interview with Modarresi).

 

Kurdistan Democratic Party
The official site for the KDP, one of the two major Kurdish political parties, includes a tribute to fallen members, a history, and other information.

 

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
The PUK, the KDP's rival Kurdish party, offers extensive news, links and party objectives on its official site.

 

Iraqi Turkoman Front
Up-to-date news and links pertaining to the Iraqi Turkoman Front, the primary political party representing Iraq's Turkoman community. (See an overview of Iraq's Peoples and Politics.)

 
General News and Information Resources  

CIA World Factbook: Iraq
General country information about Iraq, including demographic statistics based on CIA findings

 

U.S. State Department: The New Iraq
Features on reconstruction efforts from the State Department's informational web site.

 

Associated Press: Reconstructing Iraq
An interactive map explaining the status of reconstruction projects in Iraq (2003, requires Flash).

 

New York Times: The Struggle for Iraq
A constantly updated index of relevant news stories, plus interactive slide shows and video features.

 

The Washington Post: Iraq
The Post's collection of its current reporting on Iraq, along with interactive features, including a timeline on U.S. casualties.

 

Washington Post: Iraq Between War and Peace
A graphical representation of both the security issues that persist following the capture of Saddam Hussein and the reconstruction progress made by the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council. (Washington Post, December 27, 2003)

 

 

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posted february 12, 2004

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