When the American military presence in Iraq ended in December 2011, Washington and Baghdad claimed that Iraq was a stable, sustainable democracy. However, this appears questionable as Nuri al-Maliki, prime minister since 2006, has continued his quest to dominate the state and to use its power to break opposition to his rule,  leaving the country vulnerable to heightened sectarian tension and a new civil war.

When the American military presence in Iraq ended in December 2011, Washington and Baghdad claimed that Iraq was a stable, sustainable democracy. However, this appears questionable as Nuri al-Maliki, prime minister since 2006, has continued his quest to dominate the state and to use its power to break opposition to his rule. His systematic exclusion of key politicians from power underlines the failure of the 2010 elections to deliver representative government, and leaves the country vulnerable to heightened sectarian tension and a new civil war.

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Thailand’s troubled politics

A bomb attack in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on 17 August 2015 – while not conclusively linked straightaway to any particular faction or terrorist group – has again focused international attention on the country’s turbulent domestic politics. 

China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea

For China’s neighbours, the most worrying aspect of its land-reclamation works in the South China Sea is that it is unilaterally changing the status quo.