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Rasha Al Aqeedi

Rasha Al Aqeedi

Middle East Deputy Editor

Rasha Al Aqeedi is Middle East Deputy Editor at New Lines magazine. She is an Iraqi researcher and analyst based in Washington D.C. Her work focuses on non-state armed groups, political Islam and her hometown of Mosul, Iraq.

Prior to joining the editorial team at the magazine, Rasha worked in political and security research and analysis at various think tanks including George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the Dubai-based Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center. As a commentator on Iraq, the Middle East, and security issues , Rasha’s essays have been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The American Interest and other outlets. An avid animal lover, Rasha has two cats and does not welcome cat-hating.

Latest from Rasha Al Aqeedi

Thanksgiving Food in America Is as Diverse as Its Population

Thanksgiving Food in America Is as Diverse as Its Population

Though the traditional Thanksgiving meal in America remains the most prominent across most tables in the country, first-, second- and third-generation immigrants often include foods from their cultures in a celebration of family, gratitude and flavor.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
After Backing the Iraq Invasion, U.S. Media Now Compensates by Disregarding Conflicts

After Backing the Iraq Invasion, U.S. Media Now Compensates by Disregarding Conflicts

The shadow of the Iraq War has spawned a rhetoric in which a complete lack of empathy toward nations in conflict is disguised as sane political realism. Honest activists who oppose the toll on humanity caused by wars are drowned out by the louder voices who decide which conflict victims deserve empathy based on the identity of the perpetrator.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Iran’s Protests Have Everything and Nothing To Do With Hijab

Iran’s Protests Have Everything and Nothing To Do With Hijab

A choice vs. an obligation, a clothing item vs. a symbol of oppression, a religious identity vs. political statement — the controversial fabric is, in fact, all the above and a bit more.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
In the Middle East, a Yearning for Stability via Monarchy

In the Middle East, a Yearning for Stability via Monarchy

But there is also a sense of ruefulness at times about such an institution and a bygone era it represents that nobody really remembers but surely must have been an improvement on today’s regional malaise. After all, if we are to be led by absolute rulers, why not also have the prestige and pageantry?

Kareem Shaheen,
Rasha Al Aqeedi
Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr and ‘The Wire’

Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr and ‘The Wire’

In previous years I had overtly rejected the term “Chi-Raq,” a wordplay combining Chicago and Iraq to express the state of lawlessness, violence and chaos in the former. I found it racist and inaccurate. Organized crime and state-sanctioned violence are incomparable, but watching “The Wire,” a fiction based on reality, has shifted my thinking. Not Chi-Raq but Balti-Raq, to quote one of the characters, Bubbles, “the west side is about to go Baghdad”. The contexts remain drastically different, but the parallels stand.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Qeema Confidential

Qeema Confidential

Food patterns in Arab-majority countries draw on influences from the rich cuisines of India, Persia and the Ottoman Empire. The latter includes foods from Greece, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and other former Ottoman regions.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
An Iraqi Actress to Sue The Economist Over ‘Fat’ Photo

An Iraqi Actress to Sue The Economist Over ‘Fat’ Photo

“I have decided to take legal action against The Economist for their cover story. I am demanding compensation for the emotional, mental, and social damage this incident has caused me. My legal team and I are arranging the next steps"

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Leaked Recordings Reveal Toxic Paranoia Within Baghdad Political Class

Leaked Recordings Reveal Toxic Paranoia Within Baghdad Political Class

The recordings show Nouri al-Maliki for what he always has been, a paranoid charlatan who cannot comprehend an Iraq operating outside his incredibly narrow sectarian worldviews.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
There Should Be a Juneteenth Equivalent in Iraq

There Should Be a Juneteenth Equivalent in Iraq

If there was one cynical historic deed that unites the West and Middle East, it would be slavery: in particular, the enslavement of humans from Africa.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Johnny Depp: Arab Men’s Favorite Pirate

Johnny Depp: Arab Men’s Favorite Pirate

So what do men in the Middle East fear exactly? Hashtags? Why was Johnny Depp's victory relatable to them when they have never had to stand trial?

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Muzaffar Al Nuwab, Iraq’s Runaway Train

Muzaffar Al Nuwab, Iraq’s Runaway Train

Muzaffar Al Nuwab was taken to his last destination, back home to Baghdad, for his final rest. His funeral procession was akin to a majestic homecoming ceremony where his life was celebrated by legions of admirers despite never having met their idol during their lifetime.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
A Tribute to Shireen Abu Akleh, a Journalistic Role Model

A Tribute to Shireen Abu Akleh, a Journalistic Role Model

Shireen looked and sounded like us, and it didn’t matter that we were not even privy to her religious identity, which we learned after her death when we watched in horror as her coffin made its way to the church while Israeli soldiers beat the pallbearers.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Overturning Roe v. Wade Doesn’t Need Sharia Analogies

Overturning Roe v. Wade Doesn’t Need Sharia Analogies

For five decades, lobbyists and pro-life advocates have pushed to overturn Roe v. Wade; not sharia law enthusiasts. The American political system allowed for the Supreme Court to become right-leaning; not governing rules inspired by the Taliban.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Qassem Soleimani: The Vincible General

Qassem Soleimani: The Vincible General

Despite the differences between Saddam and Soleimani, the commonalities were striking. Both men had caused enormous suffering. Both were defiant, and simply too large to die. Yet both were shown to be vincible.

Rasha Al Aqeedi
Inglourious Basterds of Mosul

Inglourious Basterds of Mosul

It took five hours to watch the 101-minute Netflix film on Mosul and process the emotions that resulted from the realistic portrayal of brutal warfare in my hometown.

Rasha Al Aqeedi