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The Battalion

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Panelists discuss Iraqi policy

Experts+on+Iraqi+politics+discuss+its+stability%2C+the+role+of+the+U.S.%2C+and+the+defeat+of+ISIS.+Former+Ambassador+Crocker+says+U.S.+can+serve+as+mediating+presence+in+the+country.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Kate Hanson

Experts on Iraqi politics discuss its stability, the role of the U.S., and the defeat of ISIS. Former Ambassador Crocker says U.S. can serve as mediating presence in the country. 

The Bush School hosted the panel discussion “The Future of Iraq: Stability, US Role, and the Defeat of ISIS” on Sept. 5 in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.
The event began at 4:30 p.m. followed by a panel discussion at 6 p.m. that examined the future of Iraq and American policy towards Iraq, focusing on the recently issued Atlantic Council Task Force report on Iraq.
The Atlantic Council’s Task Force, chaired by former Ambassador Ryan Crocker, aimed to pinpoint ways to support the Iraqis in stabilizing their state, repairing their war-torn areas and establishing a more stable country, according to the Atlantic Council website.
The event began with discussion among former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Lukman Faily, foreign affairs columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer Trudy Rubin, and Senior Director at BCG’s Center for Energy Impact Raad Alkadiri.
Each panelist applied their years of experience and knowledge surrounding the Middle East to questions posed by Greg Gause, head of the International Affairs Department at the Bush School and the discussion’s mediator. Questions were raised over issues such as the Shia-Sunni conflict, political foundation of the country and the social identity of its citizens.
“We’re at a turning point, it seems to me, in the fight against ISIS,” Gause said. “The fight against the territorial state that ISIS was trying to establish seems to be coming to an end. But it seems to me that for the past two and a half years, the Iraqi politics in many ways has been on hold. And I just wonder, what has been put on hold in Iraq, and what is going to be on the agenda once the ISIS issue is over?”

Discussions involving the politics surrounding the resistance of ISIS, the dynamics of Iraqi politics and U.S.-Iraq relations were important for students to be exposed to because the United States has great interest in Iraq, according to Gause.

“Iraq is a place where the United States has an enormous investment. Not just the investment we made during the 2000s when we fought a full-scale war there. But there are American troops, American airmen and American personnel still in Iraq, helping to fight ISIS and that’s going well,” Gause said.

Following their group discussion, Crocker, career ambassador within the U.S. Foreign Service, offered his impressions on the panel discussion using his 37 years of experience as U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Lebanon. 

The Obama and Trump Administration broached the Islamic State as purely a military problem, according to Crocker. However, regarding the United States’ presence in Iraq, Crocker said the U.S. has the potential to serve the purpose of ‘mediator’ between conflicting military, idealistic and religious groups. What happens in Iraq is fundamental to American national security, Crocker said. 

“I think the key question to the Iraqis is what format do they want their state to be in, once they resolve the internal politics issue,” former Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. Lukman Faily said. “And in fact, we have not had closure for many important issues. So at this point, the challenges we have are preventing us from having any long term planning, because we have expectations from international countries to help us with the better environment and better management.”

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