Charles Tripp, "The Politics of the Local in Iraq," Le Monde Diplomatique (January 2008). In the latest English edition of Le Monde Diplomatique, Tripp, Professor of Middle East Politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), predicts the possibility of a second round of civil war in Iraq, rooted in an evolving political atmosphere of local warlordism, institutional weakness, and emergent military elitism. Tripp explains the complexity of the situation while remaining highly critical of US policy, suggesting that the privileging of its counterterrorism interests – containing and defeating insurgents and Al Qa’ida elements – is being done at the expense of a future democratic Iraq. The current US approach to cultivating both local brokers and the Iraqi military in its fights against Al Qa’ida, Tripp suggests, has historical analogues in the "imperial protectorates that shaped the politics of the middle east for much of the first half of the 20th century" and "the close and often sinister relationship between Latin American military institutions and the US military." Food for thought.