Iraq

By Gideon Rachman

Turmoil in the Middle East looked like a gift to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. With unseemly eagerness, the Republican candidate unwrapped his present – blaming the Obama administration for encouraging Islamist militancy. Conservative commentators chimed in. On Fox Television, Charles Krauthammer announced: “What we are seeing on the screen is the meltdown, collapse of the Obama policy on the Muslim world.”

We had plenty to chat about today on the world desk, with these articles:

James Blitz

When Iran proposed a few weeks back that a meeting with world powers to discuss its nuclear programme should take place in Baghdad, US and British diplomats were not exactly thrilled by the idea. Read more

The World Bank presidency and Iraq’s impact on global oil markets

Alan Beattie, Xan Rice, Michael Peel and Guy Chazan join Gideon Rachman to discuss the battle for the presidency of the World Bank and the state of Iraq and its impact on the global oil market

By Gideon Rachman
For half a decade the war in Iraq was the most controversial and important issue in international politics. But when the American military slipped out of the country last week, the world hardly noticed

In this week’s podcast: We look at the many controversies courted by France’s president Sarkozy, at the Pope’s visit to Britain and at the survival of the Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan.
 Read more

Daniel Dombey

When the feel-good part of a trip is the visit to Iraq, you know you’re on an interesting journey.

After travelling to Baghdad yesterday to mark the formal end of the US’s military mission in that country, US defence secretary Robert Gates came today to Afghanistan, where Washington hopes to engineer a similar handover. Read more

Daniel Dombey

Today, we are busy with another, much more controversial part of America’s military legacy – Iraq. Flying unannounced to the country as ever, we went by helicopter to Ramadi, once a seat of the insurgency, and travelled over a vast desert seemingly drained of all colour. Read more

Daniel Dombey

By Daniel Dombey in al-Asad, Iraq

If you want to see what the US’s “responsible drawdown” in Iraq looks like, come to al-Asad Air Base. Here, in a desert of white sands, amid light canvas tents and under roaring planes, Robert Gates, US defence secretary, has begun a trip to mark the end of the US combat mission in the country.

The location is symbolic. The air base is in al-Anbar province, where some of the most violent episodes of the war took place and where the Anbar awakening that preceded the US surge took place.

When Gates arrives with a group of us journalists in tow, it is not yet seven in the morning and the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn is just a few hours old. While we were in the air, President Barack Obama hailed the “historic moment” in only his second address from the Oval Office.

From al-Asad, at first glance, things look less dramatic. Read more

The FT is running a live blog commentary of Tony Blair at the Chilcot Inquiry  – see it here