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Colin Powell's legacy

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

What is the legacy of Colin Powell?

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell tragically died of complications of COVID-19. He was the first Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first Black National Security Advisor and the first Black Secretary of State. And he leaves a legacy of a long career, dedicated almost entirely to public service.

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Iraq has elections this weekend — will anybody show up?

Iraq will hold on Sunday its fifth election since the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, and the first since a widespread protest movement in 2019 ousted the government in place at that time. Over 900 candidates are vying for 329 parliamentary seats against a backdrop of still-elevated economic, social, and security tensions in the oil-rich country. Eurasia Group analyst Sofia Meranto explains what's at stake in the vote.

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Former US Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff discusses counterterrorism

For Michael Chertoff, former US secretary of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, the fact that America has not experienced a single attack by foreign terrorists since 9/11 proves that the US was "successful" in its strategy to prevent terrorism. That "was not [an] accident and there was a deterrent effect to be honest — had we been lax, more would have tried." Although he admits the US government wasn't transparent enough about the intelligence it was collecting, Chertoff credits US intelligence agencies with helping to foil the plot to blow up airplanes mid-air from Heathrow to the US in 2006. The US mission in Iraq, or what came after was not clearly thought out, according to Michael Chertoff, who served as the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. The Iraq war made it difficult to focus on the US mission in Afghanistan and absorbed resources that could have been used more effectively elsewhere, he said.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Is America safer since 9/11?

Political transformation 20 years after 9/11

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

Two decades later, in what ways has 9/11 shaped US politics?

Well, I think if you can go back in time from today to late 2001 and early 2002, people then would be surprised to learn three things. The first is that the Taliban were back in charge of Afghanistan. The second is that Iraq can transition to a relatively stable democracy. And the third is that after 9/11, there were no future foreign-planned major terrorist attacks against the United States. This last piece of information will particularly surprise people, and they'd also be surprised to learn that the major threats facing the US were largely domestic political instability and a rising geopolitical conflict with China, which had just become an open trading partner of the US just before the 9/11 attacks happened.

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What We're Watching: Iraq's PM at the White House, France's vaccine passport, US bombs the Taliban

Iraqi PM's face-to-face with Biden: Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq's prime minister, met with President Biden at the White House Monday to discuss the future of US troops in Iraq. The US still has about 2,500 troops stationed in Iraq to engage in "counterterrorism" operations and train Iraqi forces. In an interview published this week, al-Kadhimi called for the withdrawal of all US combat troops, because, he said, Iraqi forces have proven capable of fighting ISIS militants on their own. (Just last week, some 30 Iraqis were killed when ISIS militants attacked a busy Baghdad market.) Al-Kadhimi still wants non-combat US troops to stay on in a training capacity. He became PM in 2020 as a consensus candidate after nationwide protests over corruption and joblessness forced the resignation of the unpopular previous government. At least 500 protesters were killed during a crackdown by Iraqi security forces, fueling demands for fresh elections, which are set to take place this October. The green PM has a tough job: he has to juggle relations with the Biden administration, which just pledged $155 million in aid to Iraq, and ties with Tehran, an influential player in Iraqi politics. (Iraq relies on Iran for energy imports, and Iran-backed militias inside Iraq are a force to be reckoned with.) Local sentiment has soured on the US presence as Iraqis resent being caught in the middle of US-Iran fights inside Iraqi territory.

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What We're Watching: Iraqi COVID ward burns, the EU's Mozambique mission, Bulgaria's punk-rock leader

Iraqi COVID ward burns: Clashes broke out Monday between police and relatives of patients at the al-Hussein hospital in Nasiriyah (Iraq's fourth largest city) who were killed when a fire broke out in the COVID-19 isolation ward. At least 92 people died, and dozens were injured when a the shoddy ward, constructed a few months ago to manage the growing COVID outbreak, became ablaze. (Iraq's Health Ministry has still not confirmed the cause of the fire.) This disaster comes as the COVID crisis has severely strained the country's already-feeble healthcare system, leading to more than 1.4 million infections and at least 17,000 COVID deaths nationwide (likely a gross undercount). Monday's blaze comes months after a deadly fire at a Baghdad hospital killed at least 82 people. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has ordered the suspension and arrest of health and defense officials in Nasiriya, but it's unclear whether this move will be enough to placate furious Iraqis who are rising up after years of neglect, economic stagnation, war, and now a pandemic. Indeed, many Iraqis who have hit the streets in recent months are asking a simple question: what do we have to lose? Only 2.5 percent of the Iraqi population has received one dose of COVID vaccine.

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Podcast: Rep. Mike Waltz’s case against ending the war in Afghanistan

Listen: Earlier this month President Biden did what three of his predecessors could not: he announced an unconditional end to the war in Afghanistan. On this edition of the GZERO World Podcast, Mike Waltz, a decorated combat veteran and Republican Congressman, tells Ian Bremmer why he thinks that decision spells disaster. "The next 9/11, the next Pulse Night Club, which is right on the edge of my congressional district, the next San Bernardino, that's now on Biden's watch," says Waltz. "He owns it with this decision."

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

The geopolitics of the Middle East shake up

How have geopolitics in the Middle East changed over the last few decades, and what does it mean for the Biden administration's strategy in this region? Like the two presidents before him, Joe Biden is eager to shift focus and resources away from the Middle East to China and the growing competition it presents. But there are some loose ends to tie up first in the Middle East, to say the least. Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is the US Misjudging the Middle East's Power Shifts? Vali Nasr's View

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