Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Feb 2nd, 2009

Summary: Provincial election results in northern Iraq could heighten ethnic tensions between Sunnis and Kurds.

Feb 1st, 2009

Summary: Three recent U.S. Special Forces operations killed 50 people — the vast majority civilians, Afghan officials say — raising the ire of villagers and President Hamid Karzai. The problem, Afghan officials say, comes when ordinary villagers hear the commotion of Special Forces overnight raids and, fearing robbers or an attack from a hostile tribe, grab their guns and run outside or fire from their homes. U.S. forces then fire back and end up killing civilians.

Jan 31st, 2009

Summary: Iraq imposed a nationwide security lockdown before key regional elections with blanket measures not seen since the deadliest years of the insurgency, underscoring the high stakes for Iraqi leaders desperate to portray stability after nearly six years of conflict.

Jan 25th, 2009

Summary: Iraqis vote Jan. 31, 2009 in the first nationwide election in three years, choosing provincial leaders in what amounts to a test of Iraq’s stability as the U.S. plans to remove its troops. A credible election without significant violence would show that the security improvements of the past 18 months are taking hold. The outcome will also show which parties stand the best chance of success in parliamentary elections a year later.

Jan 24th, 2009

Summary: The upcoming January 2009 provincial elections will be Iraqis’ fourth national ballot since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime. … David Enders of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting examines the power struggle among competing Shiite factions in Iraq.

Jan 3rd, 2009

Summary: Tensions are mounting between Sunni Arabs and Kurds in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where political violence is increasing ahead of provincial elections. … A suicide bomber blew himself up at a luncheon gathering at a tribal leader’s home, killing at least 23 people and wounding dozens.