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Iran election: The view from Iraq

At no point in recent history has Iran held as much influence in Iraq as it does now. So not surprisingly, many Iraqis kept an eye on the recent elections. However, that's not to say the results left anyone here dumbstruck. As the war unfolded over the last six years, many Iraqis have watched nervously as a Shiite-led government took control and opponents began to accuse it of having strong ties to their fellow Shiites in Iran.

Bittersweet: A craving for boar in Baghdad

In Bittersweet, a new column on GlobalPost, Matt McAllester writes about how food connects us and the people who cook it to faraway lands. McAllester is also the author of "Bittersweet: Lessons from my Mother’s Kitchen."

Obama's speech: The view from Baghdad

At a small hotel in Baghdad's Judriyah district, generator mechanic Ali Ghazi sat watching President Obama's speech on a TV screen in the lobby as he smoked cigarettes. "Everything America does is important — it holds Iraq in its hands," he said. Others in the lobby ignored the speech. Ghazi, who has no shortage of work in a city with hours a day of electrical power cuts, said despite Obama's assurances on the withdrawal of U.S. troops, he believed that the U.S. and Iraqi officials had secret deals that would allow American soldiers to stay in some areas.

Global music: Inbar Bakal

SAN FRANCISCO — During her upbringing in Israel, Inbar Bakal learned to love traditional music from Yemen, where her mother’s family had lived for generations.

Long, hot summer looms in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq — It's the middle of May and already close to 100 degrees. In the air-conditioned cool of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, U.S. military officials are looking ahead to a long, hot and dangerous summer in Iraq.

Still lost in Afghanistan?

BOSTON — Harvard’s Rory Stewart, a Perthshire Scot, is 36 years old and once walked clear across Afghanistan. A former soldier, he also spent a year as a civilian administrator in southern Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority. He believes that General David Petraeus is wrong in thinking that the lessons of Iraq can be applied to Afghanistan. You can read about Stewart’s Afghan adventures in his book, “The Places In Between,” and about his year in Iraq in “The Prince of the Marshes.”

Searching for the exit

BAGHDAD — Driving to the Baghdad airport, we pulled over to the side of the road for a U.S. convoy as anyone with a healthy fear for their life has done for the last six years in Iraq. "Why did you stop for them?" asked an Iraqi security officer standing guard by the highway. "They're 'expired,'"  he said, using the English word with something amounting to glee.

US responds to rise in Iraqi violence

WASHINGTON — The official U.S. position — as articulated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her way to Baghdad this weekend — is that the series of bombings that have shaken Iraq in recent days are actually a sign that the good guys are winning. The suicide attacks, Clinton told reporters on her trip, are “unfortunately, in a tragic way, a signal that the rejectionists fear that Iraq is going in the right direction.”

The madness of George

NEW YORK — It's all out there now, in all its vivid madness. America's democracy, on "Justice Department" stationery, impaling us on the horns of our own sanctimony. Paragraph after paragraph of banal, mediocre legal prose, the work of the department's "Office of Legal Counsel" attorneys, who are now back in private practice (or on a federal bench).

The ground truth from Mosul

MOSUL — Gen. Raymond Odierno walks through this neighborhood recently cleared of insurgents in Iraq’s most volatile city, stopping into a grocery store so new that dust hasn’t even accumulated yet on the metal racks of Turkish cookies and potato chips. When you’re a four-star general, it’s not so easy to take the pulse of the streets — but in the area of Seven Nissan, the kids running home from school and even residents’ willingness to complain is evidence that the neighborhood is coming back to life.
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