Saturday, February 02, 2008

USIP: Daniel Serwer and Rend al-Rahim on Iraq

Daniel Serwer played an integral role in organizing and conductingIr the expert groups that advised the Iraq Study Group. Rend al-Rahim is the former Iraqi ambassador to the U.S., and she is now based in Washington. This is a sober assessment.

Iraq: Politics Unfrozen, Direction Still Unclear by Daniel Serwer and Rend al-Rahim: USIPeace Briefing: U.S. Institute of Peace:


"With increased security has come a shift in Iraqi politics away from extremism and towards moderation. The concrete results of this shift in terms of legislation (and meeting "benchmarks") have been few and far between, but there is now broad acceptance of the new constitutional regime, even while there are disagreements over how precisely it should be interpreted or implemented. There is also wider acceptance that such issues should be resolved within Iraq’s still weak fragile institutions on the basis of broad partnership, which means giving the Sunnis a greater role than their numbers in the COR justify.

"Despite these positive developments, many obstacles remain, and there is little time in which to surmount them, given the American pressures for continuing withdrawal. Triage may well be necessary, but if so it should be done in a way that respects Iraqi priorities as well as American ones. Legislation in general is not the top item on Iraqis’ minds. They are looking for a more effective government, one that can take security out of the Americans’ hands, get people back to their homes, deliver services, create jobs and fulfill the promise that April 2003 seemed to hold, but without the sectarian triumphalism that soon thereafter prevailed."

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