Iraq is beginning to spin out of control and Syria continues to successfully pull in more players to broaden its civil war into a regional conflict. Oh yeah – and the United States. Here are a couple of decent reads that can provide more context than the 30-second blurbs on garbage TV news:
The first is Emma Sky’s column about Iraq in Foreign Policy magazine. She’s a non-military gal who served in Iraq as a governance/political adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority, as well as to GEN Ray Odierno while he was deputy commander and commander of U.S. forces there. I think she offers some of the best perspective of what occurred in that country in the past decade.
The second is Jonathan Panikoff’s monograph in Small Wars Journal about Syria and the great potential for a regional conflict if/when Bashar al-Assad’s regime falls. It also provides good background about the dynamics between Sunni Muslims and Alawites (Assad’s peeps), and the Free Syrian Army’s struggle between moderate Sunnis and Salafists.