Today marks the formal end of the United States' combat mission in Iraq, after almost eight years. There are now fewer than 50,000 troops left in Iraq — all serving in non-combat roles. The Obama administration has pledged to withdraw all troops by October 2011. But many are now asking questions about what Iraq's future holds. What kind of presence will the U.S. have there in the coming years and is it realistic for the country to fully support itself by the end of next year?
U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke went to Paris on Wednesday for a meeting with more than two dozen of his international peers. But it wasn't a celebration – Holbrooke was there pursuing a fair outcome to Afghanistan's presidential primary election. The meeting was filled with reports of rampant fraud and further allegations of corruption during the country's second-ever presidential election since the fall of the Taliban.
The latest results, with more than 60 percent of the ballots counted, show that incumbent president Hamid Karzai has 47.3 percent of the vote. As Afghanistan braces for a potential runoff election, we look at what Afghanistan can do to clean up their voting process with Noah Feldman, professor of law at Harvard, author of The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State and a fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations; and Emal Pasarly, a reporter in the BBC's Pashto section.
Almost 100 people were killed yesterday as coordinated bomb attacks swept Baghdad. The truck bombs and mortar fire flattened buildings, collapsed highways, and left city residents stunned at the sudden increase in violence. The attacks came just as Iraqis consider a vote on whether to accelerate U.S. troop withdrawal. Today we discuss how the situation in Iraq is evolving with New York Times Baghdad correspondent Sam Dagher and Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman. Noah Feldman served as an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003.
For more, read Sam Dagher's article, 2 Blasts Expose Security Flaws in Heart of Iraq, in the New York Times.
In President Obama's speech at Cairo University, he made it clear that U.S. and Israel have an "unbreakable" bond. He explained how the Holocaust continues to shape Israeli reactions to threats from the Arab world and to anti-Semitism around the world. But he also said it was undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For reactions to this portion of the President's speech we turn to Ethan Bronner, Jerusalem Bureau Chief of the New York Times. We also have Professor Peter Awn, director of the Middle East studies program at Columbia University and Noah Feldman, professor of law at Harvard and author of The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Council on Foreign Relations).
Speaking at Cairo University, President Obama touched on issues including Iraq, women's rights, economic development, and religious tolerance. For more analysis on relations between America and the Muslim world, we turn to Professor Peter Awn, director of the Middle East studies program at Columbia University and Noah Feldman, professor of law at Harvard and author of The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Council on Foreign Relations).
As the president prepares to address the Muslim world from Cairo University in Egypt, The Takeaway previews his speech with two experts on the Middle East: Professor Peter Awn, director of the Middle East studies program at Columbia University and Noah Feldman, professor of law at Harvard and author of The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Council on Foreign Relations).
"President Bush was so heavily criticized, regionally and globally for not paying attention to the Middle East, that President Obama has to engage even though his advisers and people in the region all know that the odds of success right now are extremely low."
— Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman