Leonard Cohen, the Yom Kippur War, and What the West Gets Wrong about the Recent Flare-Up in Gaza

When the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973, the Canadian musician Leonard Cohen rushed to Israel from the Greek island where he was living, hoping to find some way to help his people in their moment of danger. Two of the country’s leading pop stars soon found him in a Tel Aviv café and urged him to accompany them to the frontlines to perform for the troops. In a wide-ranging conversation with Dan Senor, Matti Friedman discusses his recent book on Cohen’s experience, what the Yom Kippur War was like for Israelis, the context of the recent fighting in Gaza, and his own insights from a career reporting on the Middle East. (Audio, 52 minutes.)

Read more at Call Me Back

More about: Israeli society, Leonard Cohen, Media, Yom Kippur War

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy