Charles Duelfer

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Iraq has imploded. The extremists from the group that recently renamed itself the Islamic State represent a mortal threat to the country and the broader region, and neither Baghdad nor Washington can remove this malignancy by military means alone. It can be excised only in concert with local Sunni populations that now either harbor the Islamic State or tolerate it because it is seen, misguidedly, as a means of salvation from a loathsome, oppressive central government.

Sunnis do not seek to rule Iraq, but they will no longer tolerate discrimination. Since coming to power, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has treated elections under the newborn Iraqi democratic system as a ­winner-take-all proposition — leaving the Sunni population increasingly convinced that it stands to lose all.…  Seguir leyendo »

This week’s public-television documentary on the Clinton presidency has focused attention anew on the scandal involving Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Overlooked is the important role this affair played in the confrontation of Iraq in 1998.

As the story was breaking, I happened to be in Baghdad as the deputy chairman of the U.N. weapons inspection group called UNSCOM. These were critical times for Iraq, the United Nations and Washington. In the 1990s I was virtually the only senior U.S. official who met regularly with top Iraqi officials, due to my role at the United Nations.

Our countries had no diplomatic relations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Over the next few weeks, the Opinion section will publish a series of Op-Ed articles by experts on the challenges facing Barack Obama Barack Obama when he takes office. Military reform and potential foreign policy pitfalls is the focus of today’s articles.

1) Let Russia Stop Iran. A grand bargain on missle defense.

2) A Lean War Machine. A key to a better military: spend less.

3) Financial Time Bombs. How to prepare for economic terrorism.

4) Never Again, for Real. Ending genocide would help protect America.

5) The Syrian Strategy. Can a weak dictator bring Mideast peace?

6) How To Win Islam Over. Obama's 'Muslim summit' is a bad idea.

The economic crisis has made it painfully obvious that the United States economy has become very vulnerable to broken gears in the global financial system. But this is not simply a financial or economic problem — it is a grave national security risk, and our government must treat it as such.

Historically, Washington’s national security and financial apparatuses have operated independently. Intelligence analysts have focused on explicit threats posed by weapons and conflicts. Those parts of the government charged with ensuring economic health have a different mind-set, monitoring capital markets where they assume threats are not malicious, but competitive in nature.…  Seguir leyendo »