Reuters (Continuación)

Iraqi security forces march on the outskirts of Najaf, south of Baghdad Nov. 19, 2014. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

If the United States was looking for the surest way to lose Iraq War 3.0, it might start by retraining the failed Iraqi Army to send north — alongside ruthless Shi’ite militias — into Sunni-majority territory and hope that the Sunnis will welcome them with open arms, throwing out the evil Islamic State.

Maybe it’s time for a better plan.

And the way to find one is by understanding how we lost Iraq War 2.0. We need a plan to create a stable, tri-state solution to the Sunni-Shi’ite-Kurd divide, or the current war will fail as surely as the previous one.…  Seguir leyendo »

Greece’s government will resume stalled talks with EU/IMF lenders in Paris today as Athens pushes to make an early exit from an unpopular bailout programme.

Greece has set a Dec. 8 deadline to complete the review but talks hit an impasse a projected budget gap for next year, putting a question mark over the coalition government’s timetable.

Athens has so far resisted changes demanded by the inspectors, submitting its 2015 budget to parliament last week without the approval of lenders. But Prime Minister Antonis Samaras needs a deal.

He must push through his candidate in a presidential vote in February to avoid being forced to call early elections and is hoping exiting the bailout will help win him enough support to survive the vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pope Francis told Europe’s leaders on Tuesday to do more to help thousands of migrants risking their lives trying to get into the continent, saying they had to stop the Mediterranean becoming “a vast cemetery”.

Addressing the European Parliament for the first time, Francis also said Europe should create jobs and not allow the bureaucracy of its institutions to suffocate the ideals which once made it vibrant.

The Argentine pope has made defence of migrants and workers a key plank of his papacy. He has attacked the global economic system for failing to share wealth and chose the tiny southern Italian island of Lampedusa, which many migrants have died trying to reach, as the venue for his first trip as pontiff.…  Seguir leyendo »

Visiting Nepal for a South Asia summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dropped plans to hold rallies at the birthplaces of the Buddha and a Hindu goddess, after controversy over whether he was gaining too much prominence inside Nepal.

Suspicion of India is common among South Asia's smaller nations, and the sensitivies shown in Nepal would be a small reminder for Modi as he seeks to show leadership in a region scarred by ethnic and religious divides.

Modi earned some goodwill in May by inviting the region's leaders, including arch-rival Pakistan, to his inauguration.

He will be hoping to follow up on that success during the two-day summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Kathmandu that starts on Wednesday.…  Seguir leyendo »

As predicted, Britain’s surging anti-EU party UKIP snatched a second parliamentary seat from the ruling Conservatives overnight.

The defeat is a nasty blow for Prime Minister David Cameron who paid a number of trips to the southern England constituency of Rochester and Strood to campaign personally.

UKIP’s first by-election win was in a seat almost tailor-made for it to thrive but this one would in the normal course of events have been viewed as a relatively safe Conservative seat. Of the 650 parliamentary constituencies in Britain, UKIP listed it as only 271 on its hit list.

As the victorious Mark Reckless – who defected to UKIP from the Conservatives – said after taking 42 percent of the vote to the Conservatives’ 35: “If we can win here, we can win across the country.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Three Arab taxi drivers chat near a McDonald’s restaurant in Kuwait City November 10, 2002. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The West’s understanding of the Middle East has often been laden with misconceptions—this has especially been the case in the years following the Arab Spring.

Here are three assumptions about this part of the world that need to be challenged.

Doing so is important as people all over the world often perceive the Middle East as a region in which ancient religious rivalries prevent the emergence of secular democracies. Among other things, this can wrongly inform foreign policy decision-making regarding ongoing crises in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Assumption no. 1: If leaders are secular, sectarianism will disappear.…  Seguir leyendo »