After Maliki

Iraq’s prime minister for eight years, Nouri al Maliki, has done as the United States and Iran wanted and stepped aside, in favor of his sidekick Haider al Abadi. What now?

Abadi’s problem is the same as Maliki’s. He needs an agreement with the Kurds and Sunnis that will bring him their help as well as international assistance in fighting off the Islamic State, which has occupied something like one-third of Iraq. It is not hard to imagine what they want:

  • the Kurds want to get assurances that the money they are entitled to get from Baghdad and the oil they want to export will flow unimpeded;
  • the Sunnis want more autonomy for the provinces in which they are a majority, along with increased clout in Baghdad;

These things have to be provided while satisfying Abadi’s own constituency:

  • the Shia want a central government in Baghdad that can protect them from the Islamic State.

The Americans, who have been parsimonious in providing assistance to Baghdad while Maliki was in place, will likely now loosen the purse strings, provided Abadi can convince them that he can reconstitute at least part of the Iraqi security forces and get some units out front ready and willing to fight. Abadi will be tempted to rely on Shia militias, as Maliki did. Washington needs to try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Kurds are already getting American weapons and training. It is an interesting question, one I was asked on an Al Rudaw (Kurdish) talk show this week, whether the US has made its assistance conditional on Kurdistan not moving towards independence. I really don’t know, but the fact that the US is not allowing a tanker carrying Kurdish oil to off-load in Texas suggests the answer is yes. Certainly Washington is trying to send two messages:  yes, Kurds, we love you and want you to fight the Islamic State; no, Kurds, we don’t think you should be sovereign and want you to stay in Iraq. But the latter may be whispered, or even implied, rather than stated.

Sunnis in Iraq have put themselves in a bind. They have supported an Islamic State takeover that will impose conditions many of them won’t like. But if they wait to rebel, it may well be too late. Many Afghans welcomed the Taliban initially, failing to understand how extreme and cruel they could be. They found themselves turning to warlords who were almost as bad as the Taliban. Something similar might happen in Iraq, where the Saddamists may be the only viable alternative to the Islamic State. But they, too, are almost as bad (some might think worse). Abadi really needs support of the type the Americans managed to cajole and buy in 2006/7 from the Sunni tribes in Anbar in order to fight the Islamic State and block Ba’athists from trying to recapture power.

But at the same time he needs somehow to maintain Shia confidence that he is not giving away their birthright. Maliki, if he stays in Iraq, will be sniping from the rear. He remains the caretaker prime minister until Abadi is approved in parliament (within 30 days) and presumably holds some sway within his own State of Law faction. Moqtada al Sadr and Ammar al Hakim, the leaders of the other main Shia factions, may take pot shots as well. The Iranians will be pressuring Abadi, as will the Americans. While they may pull in the same direction when it comes to fighting the Islamic State, and even in opposing independence for Kurdistan, they are likely to disagree on the relationship of the Sunnis with the Iraqi state.  Iran wants an Iraq in which Sunni power is clearly circumscribed, not one in which the Sunnis have a substantial degree of autonomy in the provinces and clout in Baghdad.

So Abadi has his work cut out for him. But Iraq now at least has a chance to start a new chapter of a long and difficult saga.


Resolve or manage?

The most recent crisis in Gaza has forced the international community to ask what alternatives can the Palestinian leadership offer to Hamas’ violence? What future does Israel want for its people and its relationship with Palestinians? Should we reconsider whether resolving this conflict is a real priority for governments in the region or if it is just an arena for proxy conflict? Last week, Brookings hosted “The Gaza Crisis: No Way Out?” to address these issues and the dynamics of the long-standing conflict. Martin Indyk, former US Special Envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, Khaled Elgindy, previous advisor to the Palestinian leadership, and Natan Sachs discussed the policy options and regional implications of the current situation.

Indyk discussed the current relationship between the US and Israel and the chronic nature of the conflict. The US has criticized Israel for its blatant disproportionality in this war. There are now apparent strains in the strategic relationship, which survives due to deeply rooted ties and support by many in the US.

However, Israel is a different country than it was thirty years ago. It is now economically and militarily strong and has relationships with other powers beyond the US. New alignments with China, India, and Sunni monarchies in the Arab world have allowed Israel to play the conflict in a different way. According to Indyk, it is not that Israel no longer needs the US, but it now feels more independent of the US than ever before.

Elgindy discussed Palestinian Authority President Abbas’ role in the most recent Gaza conflict. This crisis is the third in six years. Each has marginalized Abbas further. He has had little to no success in advocating peaceful dialogue. Palestinians have come to ignore him because of the lack of results. They choose to pay attention to Hamas.  While many did not vote for Hamas, nor do they share its ideology, Hamas’ approach—as painful as it can be—produces results in their eyes. Because of this Abbas has gradually shifted closer to Hamas’ approach rather than the other way around, while both Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have openly embraced Hamas and the resistance.

The US should therefore make peace with the Palestinians as a whole rather than dividing approaches between Gaza and the West Bank. This will allow Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to work together rather than forcing the leadership to take the most effective and violent approach. Hamas knows that there is no chance to open the border in Gaza without a role for the Palestinian Authority, while at the same time the Palestinian Authority desperately wants a role in Gaza. Abbas has been trying to reassert his relevance. This could ultimately be a win-win situation for both sides.

From the Israeli perspective, Sachs stated that Netanyahu wanted to avoid this conflict in Gaza. The original hope was simply to contain the unrest. It has now escalated into a painful and drawn-out battle.  Netanyahu believes that Hamas dragged Israel into this mess. Thus, Hamas is just as much at blame for the large loss of civilian lives and destruction over the past month.

According to Indyk, Netanyahu has rediscovered Abbas. The Palestinian Authority forces have remained loyal to him. His peaceful behavior over the last month makes him a serious player.  Israel is beginning to sense this, strengthening the idea of a two-state solution in the future. Elgindy advised the international community to empower Abbas by including Hamas under the umbrella of the PLO. This would allow them to have a stake in the political process in order to prevent regression in future talks.

Elgindy also pointed to the fact that the US has focused almost exclusively on conflict resolution to the total neglect of conflict management. This is a mistake. The US should reconsider Israel’s use of disproportionate force in warfare, which is not a legitimate way to conduct military operations.

Indyk concluded that there should not just be a focus on crisis supervision, but rather a stable balance between management and resolution. In the end, all parties must come together in working with the UN and the international community on humanitarian aid and reconstruction in Gaza.

Changing the jockey

NPR’s Michele Kelemen reported today on Iraq:

I was surprised to hear Jim Jeffrey call Maliki “corrupt, nervous nelly, micromanaging, insecure, total disaster of a military leader.” Until quite recently, Jim was defending Maliki as a relative democrat. In my view, neither characterization is true to nature.

He was certainly never a democrat, relative or otherwise, though he won a reasonably free if not fair election in April and certainly had under the constitution a claim to being asked (as the leader of the largest bloc of seats in the parliament) to form a government within 15 days of election of the President. The Americans decided to ignore that, in order to get someone more “inclusive.” The notion that Haider al Abadi, sidekick to Maliki and pal of the Iranians, is the perfect guy stretches the imagination. But let’s wait and see.

In particular, I have my doubts Abadi will do much better in inclusiveness, as what the Kurds and Sunnis want now is substantial:

  • the Kurds need to get assurances that the money they are entitled to get from Baghdad and the oil they want to export will flow unimpeded;
  • the Sunnis need more autonomy for the provinces in which they are a majority, along with the resources needed to deliver services to their citizens;
  • the Shia need a central government in Baghdad that can protect them (and everyone else) from the Islamic State.

This is a tall order.

Maliki’s problem wasn’t that he excluded Sunnis and Kurds or failed to deal with them. They were always in his governments. They still are, as he is the caretaker prime minister until Abadi is approved in parliament. Among the many deals Abadi now has to negotiate are the terms of Maliki’s retirement, including a security detail, a nice residence and immunity from prosecution.

The problem with Maliki was that he made deals with the Sunnis and Kurds that he didn’t keep, in particular deals that would give them any real power, which is all Maliki really seems to have cared about. He is not unusual in the Middle East in this respect.

He had good reason to be nervous and insecure, he was arguably less corrupt personally than his surroundings, and micromanagement is a charge the Americans should make only looking in the mirror. That the performance of the Iraqi military was disastrous is obvious, but I wonder how much that had to do with American training, which did not emphasize the kind of force on force maneuvers that the Islamic State (IS) advance required.

I agree with Danielle Pletka that changing the jockey won’t cure what ails this race horse. A much broader strategy is needed to respond to the IS threat. Hillary Clinton’s criticism of the President is well-founded. He waited too long to confront IS and now needs to do much more than Brian Katulis wants to think is feasible.

Difficult to demonstrate, but obvious

Three years ago, a poor Tunisian fruit vendor doused himself with gasoline, and set himself on fire. His death ignited a revolution that would spread to the rest of the Middle East in what came to be known as the Arab Spring.

Today, the initial optimism of the Arab revolutions has given way to despair. Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, is perhaps the last bastion of democracy in region. Last Tuesday at the Atlantic Council, Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki said that his country must succeed for the sake of “the entire Arab world.”

The country is not as island, and will not succeed in the face of regional instability. With elections scheduled before the end of the year, Marzouki claimed that Tunisia’s political crisis is in the past. A much more significant problem is the looming regional security catastrophe. Young Tunisians have trained with radical Islamist groups in Syria, Mali, and Libya. They threaten to undermine Tunisia’s budding democracy.  Tunisians must choose between democracy and extremist political Islam.

The country also faces an impending economic crisis. The unemployment rate is over 15%, with more than 40% of those under 25 searching for work. Young people thought the revolution would solve everything, but democracy is not the panacea many had hoped for. Many are wistful for the era of ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, when unemployment was lower. While the economic machine has stagnated, it is not beyond repair. Marzouki lauded the US loan guarantee program, and asked the IMF to remain patient. They must understand that “we are a fragile society,” and cannot expect immediate implementation of structural adjustment programs.

Tunisia is also facing heightened levels of corruption. The post-revolutionary state is weaker than it was under Ben-Ali (as is often the case after a revolution), and thus levels of corruption will be temporarily higher. However, corruption and unemployment are not insurmountable problems. A stable government can tackle all these issues. Unfortunately, the current government is powerless to do anything, because of the current Prime Minister’s lame duck status.

Marzouki was critical of America’s tepid support for democratic movements in the Arab world. “We didn’t have the support that we expected from the West,” who supported dictatorships because it was considered the most stable alternative. He warned that, in the absence of robust support for Tunisia, “You can say goodbye to democracy in the Arab World” for centuries to come.

He said Tunisia needs helicopters, night vision goggles, and communications equipment. The country’s anemic army is facing well-trained, well-armed terrorists. Ben Ali, who sought to prevent the army from becoming too powerful, neglected the Tunisian military. The next three months will be especially perilous, “the most dangerous in our history,” because of the upcoming elections. Terrorists, he said, see this as their last opportunity to upend Tunisia’s fragile democracy.

The Tunisian model is based on the idea that you cannot have national consensus without including moderate Islamists and secularists. Radical Islamism must not be conflated with all Islamist movements. Muslims fall along a spectrum, and the moderate end of the spectrum must be included in the government. The problem with most terrorists is not Islamism per se—it’s extremism.

As a secularist, he said that he was “extremely satisfied” with his government’s relationship with the ruling Islamist Ennahda party. They play by the rules of the game. Ultimately, it is nonsense to believe that any single group in the Middle East can rule alone.

Tunisia bears the heavy burden of being the only successful democracy in the Middle East. It could play the role that Poland did in Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. But Tunisia cannot be an island of democracy amidst a sea of chaos and tyranny.

When asked if he had any advice for Egypt, the President demurred, saying, “I do not want to start a diplomatic crisis.” Marzouki did, however, have a message for the Arab world: not all Islamists are created equal. Governments cannot exclude moderates from the political process. The choice is between an inclusive government and unending civil war. “It is difficult to demonstrate, but it’s obvious.”

Let’s make a deal

Prime Minister Maliki last night accused the Fuad Masum, elected President of Iraq on July 24, of violating the constitution, which reads:

The President of the Republic shall charge the nominee of the largest Council of Representatives bloc with the formation of the Council of Ministers within fifteen days from the date of the election of the President of the Republic.
Maliki, whose State of Law coalition won the largest bloc in parliament in April,  then beefed up the security forces in Baghdad, in an apparent “autocoup” to prevent anyone from trying to remove him from office.
Despite the apparent contradiction, the State Department is backing President Masum as the guardian of the constitution, even though he has failed to give anyone a mandate within the specified 15 days. The Americans want Maliki to step aside, as they believe he will not be able to form the kind of inclusive government they think is needed to fight off the Islamic State.
The problem is that no one other than Maliki has appeared on the horizon with a larger bloc in the Council of Representatives. A substantial majority of the parliament–including Shia as well as Sunnis and Kurds–appears to want someone other than Maliki, but they haven’t been able to agree on who it will be.
In the first instance, this is an issue for the Shia political parties to decide. Ammar al Hakim and Moqtada al Sadr, the leading lights of the Shia community, have not agreed a joint candidate, who could then command a larger bloc parliament than Maliki. The Iraqi constitutional court decided in 2010 that such a post-election coalition should be given first dibs, as is the case for example in the UK. Maliki will find it hard to argue against a post-election majority coalition if it emerges, since he formed one last time around (and the constitutional court blessed it).
In the meanwhile, the Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish forces are battling in the north, with the Americans managing some well-targeted bombing that has enabled at least some Yezidis to escape from Sinjar Mountain and the Kurdish peshmerga to slow or even reverse the IS advance on Erbil.
But a few well-placed bombs are no substitute for forming an inclusive and legitimate government in Baghdad. That is looking even more difficult today than it has the last few days.  None of the candidates the Washington Post considered five weeks ago looks promising:  many are Maliki’s sidekicks, others are anathema to Sunnis or Kurds, and others are acceptable to Hakim but not Sadr or vice versa.
This is a mess. It is likely the reason President Obama looked so grim the other night announcing his intention to authorize air drops and strikes in northern Iraq. He knows there is no reason to believe that the political crisis in Baghdad can be resolved quickly or easily. He is explicitly anticipating months of American military strikes, though even that won’t be sufficient if no agreement is reached on who will be prime minister.
It is a mistake to expect whoever emerges to be a miracle worker. It may even be one of Maliki’s minions, as his votes in parliament will remain vital. What is needed is not the magical non-sectarian who represents all the people of Iraq but rather someone who can make a deal and keep it. Maliki made many deals, but he followed through on few of them. Now no one trusts him, for good reason.
The shape of the deal is all too clear:
  • the Kurds need to get assurances that the money they are entitled to get from Baghdad and the oil they want to export will flow unimpeded;
  • the Sunnis need more autonomy for the provinces in which they are a majority, along with the resources needed to deliver services to their citizens;
  • the Shia need a central government in Baghdad that can protect them (and everyone else) from the Islamic State.

This is not a tall order, but it is also not a magic potion. Once a new government is formed, it will be months, if not a year or more, before the Iraqi security forces can fight IS effectively. In the meanwhile, expect the Americans to continue bombing as well as supplying intelligence, logistics and materiel.

PS: Shia parties today apparently nominated a Maliki sidekick, Haider al Abadi, to lead the next government, but Maliki is not giving in, yet.

Peace picks August 11-15

1. Teleconference: Gaza Conflict Resumes After Ceasefire Ends Monday, August 11 | 10:00 am – 11:00 am Wilson Center Teleconference, Toll-free Conference Line: 888-947-9018, Conference Line: 517-308-9006, Passcode: 13304. REGISTER TO ATTEND The breakdown in the 72-hour Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and the resumption of the conflict between Israel and Hamas threatens to take the Gaza crisis to a new level. What are the prospects for escalation and/or for negotiations to de-escalate the situation? Can the requirements of the parties somehow be reconciled? What is the role of the Palestinian Authority and Egypt going forward? And what is the American role? Join the Wilson Center BY PHONE as two veteran analysts of Israeli-Palestinian politics and security strategy discuss these and other issues. SPEAKERS: Jane Harman, President, Wilson Center, Giora Eiland, Former Head of Israel’s National Security Counci, Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, and Aaron David Miller, Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar, Wilson Center.

2. Laying the BRICS of a New Global Order: From Yekaterinburg 2009 to eThekwini 2013 Tuesday, August 12 | 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Woodrow Wilson Center; 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND The meteoric rise of the BRICS group has led to an unprecedented increase in partnership, trade, and investment among some of the world’s most dynamic economies. Yet this increase in cooperation should not be allowed to obscure the complexities and contradictions inherent within this cohort of emerging global actors. The Africa Program invites you to the launch of “Laying the BRICS of a New Global Order,” a book edited by Francis Kornegay, Global Fellow, Wilson Center, with contributions from Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute as this seminal compilation on the emergence of a new global order is discussed.

3. South China Seas Crisis Negotiation Simulation Tuesday, August 12 | 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm Johns Hopkins SAIS – Bernstein-Offit Building, 1717 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., Room 500 REGISTER TO ATTEND The International Peace and Security Institute will host an interactive simulation exploring the South China Seas Crisis.

4. Holy Icons of Medieval Russia: Reawakening to a Spiritual Past Tuesday, August 12 | 6:45 pm – 8:15 pm Smithsonian Institute, at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Scott Ruby, associate curator of Russian and Eastern European art at Hillwood Museum, examines how the appreciation and understanding of medieval icons developed, as well as some of the aspects of medieval iconography that differentiate it from the work of later centuries. Focusing on the great treasures of the period, Ruby looks at some of the superlative icons of Andre Rublev, a Russian monk who some consider the greatest icon painter. He also discusses how icons function in the context of public and private devotions.

5. Taiwan’s Maritime Security Wednesday, August 13 | 10:30 pm – 12:00 pm Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Taiwan’s security is inextricably linked to the sea. Indeed, the nation’s economic livelihood, as well as its national security, requires that Taipei secure the surrounding waters and have access to global sea-lanes. The Taiwan Strait is a key international waterway, and preserving its stability is in the American interest. Furthermore, per the Taiwan Relations Act, America is legally obligated to help this democratic island provide for its maritime security. Join Heritage as their panelists discuss how Taiwan’s maritime security issues are linked with the continuing East China Sea/South China Sea territorial and political disputes, Chinese naval developments, and U.S. Navy strategy in the Pacific. SPEAKERS: Bernard Cole, Ph.D., Captain, USN (Ret.), and Professor, National War College, Dean Cheng, Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, and Cortez Cooper, Senior International Policy Analyst, RAND

6. Africa Development Forum Event: A New Strategy for Civil Society Development for Africa Wednesday, August 13 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Center for International Private Enterprise, 1155 15th Street NW, 7th Floor, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND A number of challenges face civil society organizations in developing markets in general and in Africa in particular. Now, however, strategies are emerging to address some of these issues. As part of SID-Washington’s Africa Development Forum, the Civil Society Workgroup will host a panel discussion entitled A New Strategy for Civil Society Development for Africa to examine these new approaches to civil society capacity building and how they should influence development strategies in how to engage and support CSOs. SPEAKERS: Lars Benson, Senior Program Officer for Africa, Center for International Private Enterprise, Jeremy Meadows, Senior Democracy Specialist, Bureau for Africa, USAID, Natalie Ross, Program Officer, Aga Khan Foundation, USA and Richard O’Sullivan (moderator), SID-Washington Civil Society Workgroup co-chair.

7. Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War Wednesday, August 13 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Middle East Institute, 1761 N Street, NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND The Middle East Institute hosts Christine Fair, assistant professor of peace and security studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, for a discussion of her book, Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (Oxford University Press, 2014). Based on an unprecedented analysis of decades’ worth of the Pakistan army’s defense publications, Fair concludes that the army’s perception is that its success depends on its resistance to India’s purported drive for regional hegemony and the territorial status quo. Fair argues that because the army is unlikely to abandon these preferences, Pakistan will remain a destabilizing force in world politics for the foreseeable future. Hosted by Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin, President, Middle East Institute.

8. U.S.-Korea-Japan Triangle: A Korean Perspective Wednesday, August 13| 10:00 am – 12:45 pm Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC REGISTER TO ATTEND Please join CSIS for a special roundtable event with Dr. Park Jin, Chair Professor at the Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, to discuss issues in the U.S.-Korea-Japan relationship and South Korean view toward the trilateral cooperation.

9. Inside the World of Diplomacy Thursday, August 14 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Smithsonian Institute, at the American Foreign Service Association, 2101 E St NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Members of the U.S. Foreign Service are the face of America in countries around the globe. From ambassadors to embassy staffers, their post s are demanding, important, and often difficult ones. How does someone enter the world of diplomacy—and what do they find there? Take a rare opportunity to get answers from men and women whose careers are spent in diplomatic Washington as you go inside the American Foreign Service Association and the U.S. Department of State.

10. Preventing Violence in the Name of God: The Role of Religion in Diplomacy Thursday, August 14 | 10:00 am – 11:30 am Middle East Institute at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND In his remarks at the launch of the State Department’s Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives, Secretary of State John Kerry admonished, “We ignore the global impact of religion…at our peril,” and told Foreign Service officers “to go out and engage religious leaders and faith-based communities in our day-to-day work.” At a time when religious violence inflames much of the Middle East, the question of how diplomacy and religion can interact takes on high operational importance. What is the Department of State doing to fulfill Secretary Kerry’s instructions? What are the scope and limits of cooperation? These are among the questions to be addressed in presentations by Jerry White (Conflict and Stability Operations, Department of State) and Arsalan Suleman (Organization for the Islamic Conference, Department of State), followed by comments from Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering (former Undersecretary of State). MEI Scholar and retired Foreign Service officer Allen Keiswetter will moderate the panel.

11. Which Poses the Bigger Threat to U.S. National Security—Iran or Non-State Sunni Extremism? Thursday, August 14 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Hudson Institute, 1015 15th Street, N.W. 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND The Administration’s current policies throughout the region suggest that the White House no longer sees Iran as the key problem. Rather, it views the clerical regime as a potential partner, particularly when it comes to combating Sunni extremists like al Qaeda and ISIS. The Iranian regime, while problematic, represents a real nation-state and rational actor that looks out for its interests and responds to incentives—which is not the case for non-state actors. The White House has re-prioritized American strategy in the Middle East, with groups like al Qaeda and ISIS—rather than Iran—seen as the key threat to American interests. The question is whether the Obama administration has got it right. And if it’s wrong, what are the likely consequences? Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Lee Smith will moderate an expert panel featuring Michael Doran, Hillel Fradkin, and Brian Katulis to discuss whether non-state Sunni extremism or Iran constitutes the major strategic threat to American interests in the region.

12. They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else: A History of the Armenian Genocide Thursday, August 14, 2014 | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. REGISTER TO ATTEND Starting in early 1915, the Ottoman Turks began deporting and killing hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the first major genocide of the twentieth century. By the end of the First World War, the number of Armenians in what would become Turkey had been reduced by ninety percent—more than a million people. A century later, the Armenian Genocide remains controversial but relatively unknown, overshadowed by later slaughters and the chasm separating Turkish and Armenian versions of events. In this definitive narrative history, Professor Ronald Suny cuts through nationalist myths, propaganda, and denial to provide an unmatched account of when, how, and why the atrocities of 1915–1916 were committed.Drawing on archival documents and eyewitness accounts, Professor Suny’s book is a vivid and unforgettable chronicle of a cataclysm that set a tragic pattern for a century of genocide and crimes against humanity.

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