Iraq After the U.S. Withdrawal

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Event Date: 
February 16, 2012
1400 16th Street NW, Lobby Conference Center

To read a transcript from this event, click here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Noon to 2 p.m.

ISW hosted an on-the-record panel discussion on the evolving political crisis in Iraq and its implications for Iraqi stability and U.S. national interests. The departure of all American troops from Iraq in mid-December 2011 removed constraints on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's political behavior, increased his fears of survival, and accelerated his efforts to consolidate power. Sectarian politics is becoming the norm in the Iraqi government, and violence is increasing. Immediately following Maliki’s visit to Washington days before the last troops left, Iraqi Security Forces issued a warrant for the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, sparking a political crisis that continues today. This panel analyzed the unfolding political crisis, deteriorating security trends, and prospects for renewed insurgency and civil war in Iraq. The panel also discussed the ramifications of this crisis for U.S. policy towards Iraq and the Middle East. 

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Dr. Michael Knights, a Lafer fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, specializes in the military and security affairs of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and the Gulf Arab states. As a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, Knights has undertaken extensive research on lessons learned from U.S. military operations in Iraq since 1990.

Dr. Kenneth M. Pollack, the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, is an expert on national security, military affairs and the Persian Gulf.

Dr. Laith Kubba is the senior director for the Middle East and North Africa program at the National Endowment for Democracy. He was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and served as a government spokesman and senior advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari in 2005.

Marisa Cochrane Sullivan is the deputy director at ISW, where she supervises the Iraq and Afghanistan Projects. Sullivan also conducts research on Iraqi political dynamics and the security envi­ronment in central and southern Iraq.


Dr. Kimberly Kagan, the founder and president of ISW, conducted many regular battlefield circulations of Iraq between May 2007 and April 2010. She participated formally on the Joint Campaign Plan Assessment Team for MNF-I and U.S. Mission-Iraq in October 2008 and October 2009 and on the Civilian Advisory Team for the CENTCOM strategic review in January 2009.