Graeme Wood


What ISIS Really Wants

In The Atlantic.

With a follow-up here.

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Why We Hate(d) Snipers

I wrote for The Boston Globe about the history of sniping.

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On the Middle East’s Vanishing Religions

I interviewed Gerard Russell, author of Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, for The Boston Globe.

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ISIS: the Three Types of Fighter

In the September 10 edition of The New Republic.

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ISIS: The Ideology of a Caliphate

In the September 1 issue of The New Republic.

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Bovine Intervention

An article on dairy training in Iraq.  September 2009 Atlantic.

SINCE MID-2009, Lockie Gary has lived part-time on a Marine base in Fallujah and led a series of seminars that aim to train insurgents’ widows to become milkmaids. On this hot June day, he is in a makeshift classroom in a rural technical school, addressing five quiet but curious students. Cows and humans have many of the same needs, Gary tells his students, and when cows are stressed, they give less milk. “The same things that cause you stress will stress your cows,” he says, and waits for an interpreter to translate. “What stresses you?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Scenes from a Withdrawal

Originally appeared at

What will happen to Iraqi reconstruction when all the marines are gone?

Last week I listened to Maj. Ashley Burch, a Marine civil affairs officer in Ramadi, explain a raft of ambitious reconstruction aimed to smother the town of Karmah — a persistent center of insurgent activity — in American largess. I was duly impressed. Then, as I walked out of the office, I glanced at a wall map of eastern Anbar province. A bright stripe of yellow Post-its ran across the 104 km highway that connects Ramadi to Baghdad, each with the words “No-Go Zone” written across the top and a date, with the more recent dates closer to Baghdad.

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Leaving Iraq

Over at The Atlantic, I wrote a cycle about returning to Iraq in the run-up to the US withdrawal from Iraqi cities.

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