Gareth Browne is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Twitter: @BrowneGareth
Comment: Russia may be recalibrating its strategy in Syria, but it's unconvincing to think it would consider the risk of replacing Assad a worthwhile one, writes Gareth Browne.
Analysis: Next year will see the most competitive elections Iraq has seen, writes Gareth Browne.
Comment: Ex-President Masoud Barzani was the force driving a referendum that was doomed to fail - and ultimately ruined long-term chances for independence, writes Gareth Browne.
Analysis: Iraq's prime minister faces political turmoil ahead of next year's election, but with a string of recent successes he may yet survive, writes Gareth Browne.
Comment: Abadi's recapture of Kirkuk doesn't render him an enemy of the Kurdish cause, but he and the Kurds need each other to avoid a vicious divorce, writes Gareth Browne.
Comment: Haider al-Abadi must temper Baghdad’s response, without appearing weak, or Iraq will be left with divisions from which it may never recover, writes Gareth Browne.
Comment: Veteran Kurdish statesman Jalal Talabani's death comes as the Iraqi-Kurdistan region moves one step closer to independence, but still with many of the same divisions, writes Gareth Browne.
In-depth: With the military gathering outside Hawija, people who have suffered now have the confidence to fight back, locals tell Gareth Browne.
Analysis: After the fall of Hawija, it is highly possible that the Islamic State commanders may regroup and start a new insurgency - so what is already known about them?
Comment: In the eyes of Fifa, the Syrian football team is politically neutral. But turning a blind eye to politics is in itself a political action, writes Gareth Browne.