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Iraq's "Needs" from Obama Administration: USIP
Iraqi Parties in Roundtable Discussion on US Policy after Bush
11/10/2008 2:55 PM ET
Sen. Barack Obama surveys Baghdad by helicopter with Gen. David Petraeus in July 2008.
Sen. Barack Obama surveys Baghdad by helicopter with Gen. David Petraeus in July 2008.

Six Iraqi politicos and policy analysts presented their agendas for the new American president in a roundtable discussion in Washington last month. The discussion, hosted by the US Institute for Peace (USIP), included former Iraqi officials, representatives of governing Iraqi parties, and academics.

USIP writes that the October 3 panel included:

  • Qubad Talabani, U.S. representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government;
  • Nesreen Barwari, former Iraqi minister of municipalities and public works (2003-2006);
  • Raid Juhi al-Saedi, Middle East fellow, Cornell University School of Law, Clark Center for International and Comparative Legal Study, and former USIP Jennings Randolph Fellow;
  • Feisal Istrabadi, visiting professor, Indiana University School of Law and former deputy permanent representative of the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations (2004-2007);
  • Ghassan Atiyyah, visiting fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy;
  • Karim Almusawi, U.S. representative of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.

USIP summarizes the views presented:

Despite a few sharp disagreements, the speakers agreed that the next U.S. administration should support Iraq in its transition by 1) maintaining security while respecting Iraqi sovereignty; 2) strengthening institutions; 3) ensuring free and fair elections; and 4) encouraging positive regional engagement.

The roundtable captures an important segment of Iraqi official and academic opinion. It bears mentioning that the roundtable's participants are not a fully representative sample of all of Iraq's divergent political viewpoints on American Iraq policy in a post-Bush administration. MPs of the powerful Sadrist Current, for example, have called for an American withdrawal under the new Obama administration, and even an Iraqi government spokesman has called for an accelerated US timetable for withdrawal. In general, political forces that are more likely to support US policy are more likely to be readily represented in Washington.

Read USIP's write-up of the roundtable discussion in this recent USIPeace Briefing.


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