What the People of Gaza Really Think about Hamas

A collection of 25 interviews with residents of the Gaza Strip—produced as animations to protect the subjects—Whispered in Gaza attempts to portray the attitudes toward Hamas of those who actually live under its yoke. Unlike their compatriots occasionally interviewed by major media outlets, these Gazans had a chance to express themselves away from the ears of minders and without fear of reprisals. One interviewee spoke for many when he said of Hamas, “They exploit us under the pretext of resistance.” Joseph Braude, who played a leading role in the project, discusses its content and impact with Stacey Roman. (Video, 31 minutes. A longer summary can be found at the link below.)

Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion

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