"Iraq's Political Crisis" (video & transcript)

Event: Iraq's Political Crisis

Tuesday, May 25, 2010, Capitol Hill


Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S. and regional experts from Brookings and ISW offered their analysis on the challenges facing government formation and the consequences of recent political developments.

Selected remarks from Ambassador Samir Shakir Sumaida'ie

Selected remarks from Dr. Kenneth Pollack

Additional Off-site Authors: 

<p><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Event:&nbsp;IRAQ'S POLITICAL CRISIS</b></p>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Opening Remarks:</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ambassador Samir Shakir M. Sumaid'ie</b>,</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ambassador of Iraq to the United States</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Panelists:</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Marisa Cochrane Sullivan</b>,</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Research Director, Institute for the Study of War</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dr. Kimberly Kagan</b>,</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; President, Institute for the Study of War</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dr. Kenneth Pollack,</b></div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &bull;‑&bull;‑&bull;</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. EST</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Tuesday, May 25, 2010</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Room HC‑8</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; United States Capitol Building</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Washington, D.C.</div>
<p><br clear="all" />
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; P R O C E E D I N G S</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.&nbsp;My name is Kim Kagan.&nbsp;I am the President of the Institute for the Study of War, and I am very pleased to welcome you today to our event on Iraq's election crisis.&nbsp;It is certainly great to see so many of you here particularly interested in what should be a really important national security priority for the United States, the future of Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Today, to help us discuss the ongoing process of government formation, can it go off, and the importance of that process to Iraq's stability and to U.S. national security, we have a wonderfully distinguished panel to present different aspects of their thoughts, experiences, and studies.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; With us today is Ambassador Samir Sumaida'ie, who is the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States.&nbsp;It is my great pleasure to welcome him today.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; He will speak first, followed by Marisa Cochrane Sullivan, the Research Director at the Institute for the Study of War, followed by me, and then rounded off by Ken Pollack of the Brookings Institution.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So here we are.&nbsp;I am going to cut to the chase and ask the Ambassador, please, to open us up with his remarks about government formation in Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Sadly, the Ambassador cannot be with us for the whole time, so I hope you will kindly welcome him, and he has kindly offered to us to take all of the questions you have for him during the question‑and‑answer period later.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thank you very much, Ambassador.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; AMBASSADOR SUMAIDA'IE:</b>&nbsp;Thank you.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;I appreciate it.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Would you like to sit here or stand at the podium?&nbsp;Whatever you like.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; AMBASSADOR SUMAIDA'IE:</b>&nbsp;Let me start.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Wonderful.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; AMBASSADOR SUMAIDA'IE:</b>&nbsp;Well, thank you very much, Kim, and thank you all for coming to hear about Iraq.&nbsp;With all the problems around the world and the crises that we see ‑‑ the financial crisis, North Korea, the Iran nuclear issues, Yemen, Somalia pirates, Greece ‑‑ going on, some people are tempted to think that Iraq is yesterday's problem, let's not worry about it, it's basically a problem solved.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Well, almost.&nbsp;Iraq is still a work in progress.&nbsp;We have made huge ‑‑ in fact, amazing progress, considering that we are making it under fire.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But we are not there yet, and the best illustration of that is the recent elections.&nbsp;Although the population turned out in great numbers, more than 62 percent of eligible voters came out to vote, despite the threats and despite the risks, which is a tremendous affirmation by the Iraqi people that this is the course they want to chart for themselves, this is the way they want to choose their leaders, and that they will defy and stand up to terrorists.&nbsp;However, because of the long and traumatic history, recent history of Iraq, because of the still‑open wounds and the problems that we inherited both from the previous regime and from recent developments, the forging of a new government out of these elections has proved to be rather difficult and is proving to be difficult.&nbsp;Where is this leading us, what are the prospects, this is what I just wanted to make a few remarks about.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Incidentally, you have the best possible panel here, and I am sure they will answer on my behalf any questions you have, with great alacrity and competence.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, why is it so complicated, when the Brits can do it in a couple of days?&nbsp;We haven't managed to even confirm the results of the election, and now it's more than 2 months.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; A number of things.&nbsp;One, that the results came out quite close.&nbsp;Secondly, they were challenged on the basis of accuracy.&nbsp;They were challenged also on the basis of who is qualified and who should be disqualified because of ties to the previous regime.&nbsp;This later challenge was highly political, highly controversial, and was actually very unfortunate because it took the country back to a more sectarian atmosphere, sectarian‑charged atmosphere.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The country was moving steadily and nicely away from sectarian conflicts.&nbsp;As you remember, sectarian conflict became extremely violent in 2007, primarily 2008 started to die down as the surge paid its dividends and internal measures also kicked in, and people, 3 months before the elections, were beginning to talk about governance, services, security, quality of education, the economy, how to develop the oil sector, real issues that should be moving the country forward.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Then we have this, if you like, stink bomb explode, and it was done deliberately, I believe, to create a different environment to favor people who had an interest in keeping this fire going.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Still, despite that, the election showed that people at large really did not favor that approach, and that's why a secular bloc led by ex‑Prime Minister Ayad Allawi managed to get the largest number of votes, only just ‑‑</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Then all these challenges started to be advanced and, you know, the challenge about the accuracy can be very messy going through the ‑‑ you'll probably remember the 2000 elections here with the hanging chads and all that kind of thing.&nbsp;So you imagine that multiplied and in an atmosphere of even more complexity, the results finally are still not quite clear, but I think we are coming ‑‑ we are coming right to the end of that, and the results will be confirmed very soon.&nbsp;That leaves who will form the government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The second and third bloc started negotiations, and they have announced their intention to form a bloc which will be larger than them, the largest bloc, and, therefore, will be, according to their spokesman, forming the next election ‑‑ the next government, having a party.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; However, that's not the end of the story because they cannot agree on their nominee for a Prime Minister, and even within one of them, they cannot agree on who to nominate in their negotiations with the other bloc, which is supposed to be uniting with them.&nbsp;So that's highly problematic, but they keep saying that within a few days, they will come out with a name.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The constitution says that once the election results are confirmed finally by the court, within 15 days the new parliament has to convene, and the President will have to then request the leader of the largest bloc to form a government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There's a process within parliament.&nbsp;It tries to elect a Speaker and then to elect the President by two‑thirds majority; if they fail, then by simple majority, so the process has to take its place.&nbsp;That the mechanics are no problem; the politics are the problem.&nbsp;It's who actually will be Prime Minister.&nbsp;That's going to be of great importance because Prime Minister, according to our constitution, has a lot of power.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And the resolution of this will decide the fate of Iraq.&nbsp;It will decide what kind of Iraq we will have.&nbsp;It will decide whether Iraq will be a country that is moving slowly and steadily away from sectarian politics and to secular politics, getting closer and closer to the United States in terms of its strategy, relationship, and goals, or an Iraq that will be more inward looking, more entrenched, more Islamist, and perhaps less close to the United States, some people would say might even be hostile to the United States.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So the outcome of these political machinations is of extreme importance to the future of the country and the future of the relationship between Iraq and the United States.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; These are not ordinary elections because these are not ordinary times.&nbsp;The struggle is not confined to that within the electorate of the country.&nbsp;It's a struggle which has regional dimensions and international ramifications.&nbsp;It matters a great deal to Iraq and I believe to the United States how this struggle is resolved.&nbsp;That's why it is at times vicious; it's highly aggressive.&nbsp;Huge resources both from inside the country and from outside it are being poured into it, and there are no holds barred.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; That's why I am so happy to see so many people attending this meeting because this is an indication of the recognition of the importance of this critical time.&nbsp;I really believe ‑‑ and this is not in any way overdramatizing it ‑‑ I really believe that this is the tipping point.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We have come a long way.&nbsp;We have had our share of problems, mistakes, rumors, missteps, wrong‑turnings.&nbsp;We are now at the crucial turning point.&nbsp;I know this is a clich&eacute; happens to be true at this time, and we will witness what happens in the next few months in the process of forming the government will leave its mark, as I said, not only on Iraq as a country but on the results of this great and controversial project that the United States embarked upon.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And despite the controversy of whether ‑‑ on whether the United States should have gone in, should not have gone in, the fact is that the United States are in.&nbsp;The fact is that the United States has invested a huge amount of funds and blood in this country of mine.&nbsp;We have invested even more, maybe not on the funds but certainly on the blood, and that certainly is a existential point in our history.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There are factors which will affect the outcome.&nbsp;A lot of them are internal, but some are external, and some actually come back all the way to this center.&nbsp;It is important that the leaders of this country will do whatever is necessary and proper to uphold and support the democratic political process and safeguard it against being hijacked or derailed or moved away from its democratic objective and keep Iraq potentially a friend and an ally and, at the same time, protect the interest and security interest of the United States.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I sincerely apologize for having to leave, but I am leaving you in good hands.&nbsp;Thank you very much.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [Applause.]</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Thank you very much, Ambassador.&nbsp;I really appreciate it.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; To add to the resolution and granularity on what's going on in Iraq's elections processes, Marisa Cochrane Sullivan.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; MS. SULLIVAN:</b>&nbsp;I'll speak up at the podium.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;And, in general, if we could all silence our cell phones, I think we'd all be in much better shape, please.&nbsp;Thanks.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; MS. SULLIVAN:</b>&nbsp;Hi, there.&nbsp;I'm Marisa Cochrane Sullivan.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What I want to do is pick up with what the Ambassador had touched upon in his remarks and just provide a little bit more resolution on where we are currently in Iraq with government formation.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; First, I'll talk about where we are in the process, laid out constitutionally, and then get into some of the major debates that are ongoing right now and that are shaping the dynamics.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; First of all, where we are, it's been 2 months now since the final uncertified results have been announced, and the reason that they're uncertified is because there is a period of adjudication of any complaints by the Iraqi High Electoral Commission, and then, ultimately, the results are sent to the Federal Supreme Court for certification.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We're at the end of the, kind of, adjudication process, and, as the Ambassador said, we're expecting the Court to certify the results within the next week or so, but what's happened, though, is the reason for the delay is twofold, as the Ambassador had referenced.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There were two major challenges to the results.&nbsp;The first was by one of the lists, Prime Minister Maliki's State of Law Coalition, which came in second place with 89 seats.&nbsp;In first place was Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya list, which is a predominant Sunni secular nationalist party led by a Shia politician, former Prime Minister.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So Prime Minister Maliki had issued a request for a recount in Baghdad on the possibility of fraud.&nbsp;That was taken up by IHEC, and there was a recount in Baghdad.&nbsp;What that did was ‑‑ the recount started earlier this month.&nbsp;It was controversial because there were other requests for recounts elsewhere in the country by other parties, particularly Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya list in parts of the south and by certain Kurdish parties in Ninawa and Kirkuk province, but the Court made the decision only to recount in Baghdad in that some suspected that there was some political influence there, but that that was what happened.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ultimately, the recount just wrapped up last week, and there was no real change to the allocation of seats.&nbsp;A minor point, 5 percent of votes were changed for some technical reasons, but there was no change in the outcome on account of the recount.&nbsp;So that has been resolved in Baghdad, and we're moving toward certification.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The other main challenge to the results came, as the Ambassador said, from the Accountability and Justice Commission, which is more commonly known the &quot;De-Baathification Commission.&quot;&nbsp;It's an organization that the legal framework is murky, particularly since a new accountability and justice law had been passed in 2008, and so there was a lot of question as to what legal backing this commission had to go about and recommend candidates for De-Baathification.&nbsp;And most of those candidates came from the Iraqiya list, particularly seat winners.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So there was this charge period before and after the elections in a way that was really negative.&nbsp;It introduced sectarian tones, the notion that this predominantly Sunni bloc was being targeted by politically motivated Shia politicians.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ultimately, it was resolved recently, and so what you've seen is now an effort to move forward to certification.&nbsp;What you are seeing now, the parties are talking to one another, but you are not going to see major decisions on the negotiations until after certification.&nbsp;So we are very much at the beginning of the process of the government formation.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As the Ambassador said, the next steps, once the vote is certified, there are 15 days for the President, President Talabani, to call the Council if Representatives into session, and from there, they will elect a Speaker of the Parliament and move forward to selecting a President.&nbsp;But because the Speaker is ‑‑ or the selection of posts is all wrapped up in the negotiations, it matters very much between the period of certification and when the COR is seated.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; You are going to see a period of intense negotiations because the Speaker is a very powerful position within the Council of Representatives, much like here with our House of Representatives, in that it can determine what legislation comes to the floor for a vote.&nbsp;So it's a very important post, and it's going to be very much a part of the negotiations which are ongoing now and will intensify after certification.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What you are seeing now is a debate over the largest bloc because, according to Article 76 of the Iraqi constitution, the President will ask the largest bloc to select a nominee and to take the lead in forming the government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What little legal precedent exists suggests that the largest bloc is traditionally the bloc that won in the election, that won the most seats during the vote, which would be Allawi's Iraqiya list.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What has happened is you've seen a question submitted by Prime Minister Maliki to Chief Justice Medhat for his opinion on what &quot;largest bloc&quot; has meant, and he came back with a very ambiguous statement but one that left a loophole for the largest bloc to be the coalition ‑‑ or the alliance that is formed after elections.&nbsp;So, if you can put together the 163 seats required for the majority after the election, that can be the largest bloc that could get the first shot at forming the government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So this has been an ongoing debate because Iraqiya maintains that it deserves the first chance at forming the government; it is the largest bloc.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Earlier this month, on May 3rd ‑‑ I'm sorry ‑‑ May 5th, there was an announcement that was going to be an alliance between the State of Law list, which was Maliki's coalition, won 89 seats, and the third‑place winner, the Iraqi National Alliance, which is a predominantly Shia ‑‑ very, very Shia coalition with the main parties being the Sadrist Trend, led by Moqtada al‑Sadr, who is currently in Tehran or in Qom right now studying, and then also ISCI and Badr, although what's been interesting there is you've seen the Sadrists have emerged much strengthened, much stronger out of the elections.&nbsp;They won the majority of seats, and so you're seeing a much weaker ISCI within the Iraqi National Alliance.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; That merger that was announced on May 5th between the State of Law and INA was very much ‑‑ it put the cart before the horse because they announced their alliance, and they set up some parameters for how they were going to go about selecting the Prime Minister.&nbsp;They were going to each name nominees to a commission, a 14‑member commission, 7 nominees, and then from there, the commission would vote on candidates named by each side for Prime Minister.&nbsp;And the one that won 80 percent of the votes was the nominee from that, from the State of Law INA.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, they are having some significant difficulty naming the members of the committee to name the Prime Minister.&nbsp;So they have run into some major challenges.&nbsp;Because these are lists that have a lot of suspicion of other parties within the list, they carry a lot of grievances, particularly between the Sadrists and Maliki. The Sadrists still remember Maliki's crackdown on the Jaish al‑Mahdi and Sadrist militia groups in 2008, and so there is a lot of existing bad blood between these groups, but what they want to do is deny allowing Iraqiya the chance of having the first shot at forming the government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So you're seeing, as the Ambassador said, a statement saying, &quot;We're going to announce.&nbsp;We're going to meet.&nbsp;We're going to have our committee members vote on a Prime Minister within days,&quot; and they still have yet to finalize the committee members.&nbsp;They have not finalized the nominees for Prime Minister.&nbsp;And so it is very much in the early stages of this alliance, and there is, you know, a chance that it could encounter further difficulties.&nbsp;We'll see what happens there.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The alliance was worrying when it was announced because what you saw was an effort by Shia blocs who came in second and third to essentially take away the right of the Sunni list that wanted the government to choose the Prime Minister and to have the first crack of government formation, and this is something that is not in the United States interest to have a predominantly Shia coalition without meaningful representation or inclusion of Sunnis, try to form a government in a way that's not reflective of the outcome of the election.&nbsp;So there is definitely concern when this list was announced during the month, and there still is concern that there are actors within both of these Shia lists that are trying to exclude Iraqiya from the government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What you're seeing now, though, is there's been outreach to Iraqiya by all the parties to engage in discussion of government formation.&nbsp;There's a growing sense that despite the INA State of Law Alliance, there is going to need to be participation from Iraqiya, although I think there's a difference of opinion in terms of what that looks like and who from Iraqiya would be in such an alliance.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There has also been efforts to bring together Maliki and Allawi, and, again, you're hearing they're going to meet any day now.&nbsp;You've heard that for a couple of weeks.&nbsp;They were supposed to be meet on Saturday.&nbsp;That was going to be the time when they would finally sit down.&nbsp;That got postponed until further notice.&nbsp;There hasn't been a date set.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So there are continued discussions between all parties, and Talabani, the President, held a banquet just this past week with all the parties present.&nbsp;Allawi, notably, was not there, but members of his list were.&nbsp;So there are efforts to engage all sides in negotiation, and a growing consensus that there is going to have to be some ‑‑ what's been called a &quot;national partnership government,&quot; but that actually ‑‑ what that will do is make the negotiations process more complicated because you're bringing together sides that are going to have to decide what their compromises are, and there are going to be difficult compromises.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So, again, I want to reiterate the point this is very much the beginning of the government formation process.&nbsp;You're seeing that it's not just an effort of who gets what post, but it's also what the state will look like, what powers the Prime Minister will have.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Sadrists are very resistant ‑‑ and many groups are ‑‑ to having Maliki continue as Prime Minister, and they've put forward ‑‑ the INA has put forward a proposal for checks on the Prime Minister.&nbsp;So that will add another interesting element of debate in these discussions of the alliance, and it's going to be a broader debate in terms of what are the powers of the Prime Minister, what are the powers of the President, how is this government ‑‑ what's the platform of the government, and so it's going to be a very complicated set of negotiations that's going to happen over a period of time.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I do not think it's in the interest for this to be a rushed process, one that becomes, you know, let's cut some deals to get the quickest government.&nbsp;We can because the quickest deals are oftentimes ‑‑ or the easier deals are oftentimes not in the best interest of Iraq, and I think that you're going to have to let this process play out.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So, with that, what I will do is I will turn to Kim to kind of do the bigger picture piece.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, again, we're still waiting on certification.&nbsp;We're seeing the groups talk to one another.&nbsp;We have seen some movement of an INA‑State of Law alliance, but, again, I think these discussions are still playing out and a long way to go in terms of the government formation.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Thanks very much, Marisa.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I think that it's time to take a step back and ask why is this a crisis when, in fact, what we're actually seeing is the unfolding of a political process inside of Iraq, and the answer is that the political process can unfold in different ways, some of which actually create crisis scenarios for whether the Iraqi government can succeed over the long term.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What we have right now is a democratic country in its first transition.&nbsp;For those of us who have watched democratic countries come to their first elections, whether in Eastern Europe or elsewhere, we have seen that this very first election by which power is actually transferred from one government to the next government is a defining moment in the history of a democracy.&nbsp;That if there is a transition of power between one leader and the next and if democratic principles are maintained after the first leader essentially goes through is term in power, then there is actually a much greater chance for the democracy to survive and for political parties to continue their formation and for the transition of power that is characteristic of democratic government to continue over time.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So, as we look at Iraq right now, we have to look at it as a young democratic state at a point in crisis where either it will engage in a transfer of power from one year to the next and one government to the next or where it will revert to the existing government, and we've seen that Prime Minister Maliki, not surprisingly, is very keen to hang onto his power and is eager to do so in ways that are sometimes constitutional and sometimes perhaps not, and that he is using the process of electoral challenge in order to try to benefit himself.&nbsp;Unfortunately, his attempts to benefit himself through a process such as the electoral recount have actually backfired, which is sort of interesting to watch.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So we actually have to see to it that Iraq goes through this crisis and that power is transferred properly to the next government, and I actually think that it is problematic for Prime Minister Maliki to retain the prime ministership over time because I do think that it jeopardizes the development of political parties, political blocs, and political situations within Iraq, even though that may be the outcome that the Iraqis decide on.&nbsp;And we have to recognize that that is a plausible and possible outcome but if we can, as political scientists, analysts, legislative analysts, know that that is a less good outcome in many respects for the continuation of the democratic process, then the natural transfer of power from Maliki to someone else.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But how that transfer of power actually goes is also in itself possibly provoking a crisis within the Iraqi state because, in fact, it would completely undermine and destabilize the Iraqi state if the Iraqi government that formed does not actually reflect the outcome of the elections.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the things that Iraqis have been fantastically good at over the past couple of years is holding their leaders accountable for their decisions and behaviors in the electoral process, and we saw that in the provincial elections that were held just over a year ago.&nbsp;And what we saw there was a mechanism by which the Iraqi people would turn out those leaders and individuals whom they thought were not actually providing the kinds of services and the quality of government that they wanted and elect new people to represent them who did.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Well, on the one hand, I am sure that there are many Iraqis, like many Americans, who find that their government is less accountable than they would like.&nbsp;On the other hand, the truth is that there is a change of power and a change of representation on the basis of these elections that the Iraqi people expect.&nbsp;And there is a chance and has been an ongoing chance since the announcement, albeit unofficial, of the electoral results that the government that would form had no bearing or no relationship with the government that was actually elected.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And we might point out that really over the couple days that followed the announcement of the election results, all of the Iraqi Shia leaders traveled to Iran for a big conference in Tehran to discuss the allocation of power within the state, and the Iranians have been playing a very aggressive role at trying to form a government that reflects their interest.&nbsp;And, in particular, they have been trying since about August of last year to ensure that a single Shia coalition would emerge as the entity that allocated the prime ministership, and that that single coalition would be best formed prior to the elections; hence, their extraordinary drive in August of last year to create a unified Iraqi Shia list that ultimately resulted simply in the unification on the ballot of the Supreme Council (ISCI) and the Sadrist Trend of a coalition from which Maliki stood apart prior to the elections because no power‑sharing agreement among those coalitions was going to be made before the vote.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So what we have right now is a driver within Iraq, Iran as being a driver within Iraq, of having a consolidated Shia coalition choose the next leader, and, quite frankly, that is in no way consonant with the outcome of the elections in which the distribution of power was reflected in the plurality of Ayad Allawi's party, the close second of Prime Minister Maliki's list, and then the third and fourth spots being held by the other Shia parties and the Kurds.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So what we have to do and one of the things that we must use, see to it, that the government that forms is not exclusively a Shia government, and that those who choose the Prime Minister are not exclusively Shia, persistence of these ongoing, if poor, negotiation between Prime Minister Maliki, the Sadrists, and the Supreme Council is an ongoing negotiation among Shia about who will choose the Prime Minister, a negotiation that, again, is not in our interest, is very much in Iran's interests, and does not really represent the outcome of the election.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We have also assumed, as the United States, that there ‑‑ I think incorrectly ‑‑ that forming a government fastest is the best way to ensure the success of U.S. policy, and I'd like to go through some of these myths that seem to be underpinning the way in which some policymakers discuss this elections process that tend to drive them in the direction of accepting as given the ongoing negotiations that may not lead to a power‑sharing agreement that will actually satisfy the parties involved and that will actually create a stable non‑sectarian state capable of moving forward from civil war but rather might create a secular state with some religious ‑‑ I'm sorry ‑‑ a sectarian state with some religious ties that will actually propel Iraq back into either Shia‑Sunni tensions or, alternative, the consolidation of power in the hands of an individual.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What are these myths?&nbsp;Faster is better, the faster we form a government, the more we're going to achieve U.S. objectives.&nbsp;And I think that nothing could be further from the truth.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What we need to do is ensure that these negotiations are actually negotiations over power‑sharing that actually allocate the powers of the prime ministership, the speakership, the ministries among the different parties that are competing, and that these negotiations actually resolve some of the underlying issues and disagreements that really divide these parties and, if not actually solve those problems, lay paths forward for how the Iraqis can solve some of these problems, such as Kurd‑Arab tensions or centralized versus provincialized government, over the course of the next Prime Minister's administration.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; That should be a priority for us, and, as Marisa pointed out, since such negotiations are actually difficult to do and time consuming to undertake, we should actually recognize that as the discussions protract, if these issues are taken on, we're actually seeing progress.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And I think that really gets us to a second myth that I've heard over the past couple of weeks, which is that if the Iraqis are going slow in forming their government, they're doing anything.&nbsp;I think those of us who have watched Iraqi negotiations over the course of the last several years have seen that all Iraqi negotiations go slowly right up until the point at the end, and that the starting position of every political group or entity that comes into competition is a maximalist starting position that is then negotiated down to what it is that that individual or entity will accept.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The process of negotiation is one step at a time.&nbsp;So, when the Sadrists come in with their list of 35 non‑negotiable demands, their method of negotiating is then to say, &quot;Fine.&nbsp;Here are our 34 non‑negotiable demands,&quot; and take one off the list each time.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, that's perhaps a slight exaggeration, but those of you who have watched Iraqi politics will know that it's only a slight exaggeration, and that these kinds of negotiating processes are normal.&nbsp;And, although we can broker them and work to hasten them, we can't actually just ride around them and pretend that they're not going to happen because then it will not, in fact, be a distribution of power that the Iraqis can tolerate.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thirdly, I think that people seem to believe that a slow government formation will stop the U.S. drawdown, and I actually think that it is time for us to separate out the U.S. drawdown from what our policy is in Iraq.&nbsp;That drawdown is going to happen, and we will get to 50,000 troops on or about 1 September.&nbsp;And that is commensurate with the reducing military role for U.S. forces in Iraq and is something that should be reversed, in my opinion, only if certain kinds of violent tensions evidently emerge over the coming months, things like the real rise of Shia militias or an actual Arab‑Kurd civil war.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So let's stop pretending that in order to make our drawdown timeline work, we have to have a particular political outcome in a particular period of time and, rather, optimize to get the best political outcome that will actually be enduring for Iraq and for the United States of America, and what we should be talking about now in Iraq policy is very much what the nature of the Iraqi state should look like as U.S. forces go into a somewhat reduced role and as we, therefore, play a different role within Iraq as an influencer of policy.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And that brings me to the fourth myth, which is that the United States cannot and should not involve itself in the internal politics of Iraq.&nbsp;I think that nothing could be further from the truth.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; First of all, we're there, and so we're involved anyway, and those of us who pretend that, you know, if we just are quiet, we are, in fact, seeing to it that the Iraqis decide things themselves, really don't recognize the fact that our silence is a statement to Iraqi politicians.&nbsp;So we're there.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We actually need to take something of a stand.&nbsp;We do not need to choose the Prime Minister of Iraq.&nbsp;We do not need to form the government of Iraq, but it is actually appropriate for the United States to broker and facilitate the talks amongst parties and to lay out those kinds of issues and concerns that the United States thinks need to be addressed in the formation of a government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; For example, should the government actually represent the outcome of the elections in some way, shape, or form?&nbsp;It's very interesting that our senior policymakers have been very fast to say this must go faster but very slow to say that the democratic process in Iraq must be upheld.&nbsp;I think that is actually quite a problem in not saying that matters.&nbsp;I think Iraqis hear that.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We actually do need to involve ourselves if the Iranians are overwhelming trying to form and consolidate an all‑Shia government.&nbsp;That is a problem for us in terms of national security, and, again, that doesn't mean that we actually have to say, &quot;No, no, no.&nbsp;You can't form that government,&quot; but we should certainly be saying, &quot;Hey, Iraqis, we think that if you do this, we're going to have problems going forward, and here is what they are.&quot;</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And so, rather than thinking of the United States as something as an entity without influence, we actually need to use the influence that we have in a moderate and appropriate way, just as the Ambassador said, to see to it that the outcome of this election actually shapes the future of Iraq in a way that is consistent with ongoing U.S. engagement with Iraq in the economic, political, diplomatic, even the religious and cultural spheres, as well as seeing to identification that we develop enough of a strategic relationship with Iraq over time that it can serve, as the opportunity now permits, as an important strategic bulwark for the United States in the Middle East region, an important counterbalance to rising Iranian interest and hegemonic ambitions, and a really strong but nevertheless manageable state within the Middle East that can play a constructive role within that state system.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; That's our interest in Iraq, and, quite frankly, it's our responsibility, and, therefore, our U.S. policy really needs to be formed actively and consistently with those principles.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thanks very much.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ken?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;Thank you, Kim.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Good afternoon.&nbsp;I apologize for the heat in this room.&nbsp;We had nothing to do with it, although, obviously, the hot air that we're generating is not helping matters.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [Laughter.]</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;I wanted to start where Ambassador Sumaida'ie started as well, because I think it's important to do so, with the positives that will come out of this election because we shouldn't lose sight of the positives, and I think that one of the most important things that I've actually seen happen here in Washington has been the recognition on the part of many senior administration officials within the Obama administration that, in fact, there are some positive things going on in Iraq, and that Iraq actually could be a very positive force in the region if these positive trends are reinforced.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And I think that it is always important to recognize the positive in Iraq, even while we recognize the pitfalls, the dangers, and all the negatives which, as you can imagine, I am going to spend most of my time talking about, but it's good to start with the positives.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And the first positive is actually the point that Ambassador Sumaida'ie started out with because Iraqis voted.&nbsp;Prior to the election, there was a lot of nervousness about whether or not the Iraqis were going to vote because the fact of the matter was that the Iraqis were deeply disillusioned with their own political leaders, and there was a great deal of apprehension that the Iraqis were going to register that disillusionment by simply saying, &quot;To heck with all of this.&nbsp;Nobody is going to give us what we want.&nbsp;Nobody is going to do what we need them to do.&nbsp;So why should we bother at all?&quot;</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And, instead, what we saw was a very high turnout for the Iraqis, much higher than we expected, and a tremendous amount of Iraqi enthusiasm and passion, even, for the politics of the vote and what has happened since, which suggests that the Iraqis remain deeply committed to this system at least for the moment.&nbsp;They wanted to produce what it is that they need.&nbsp;They remain hopeful.&nbsp;They are frightened, but, nevertheless, they continue to believe in the potential for this system to give them what it is they want.&nbsp;That's very positive.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In addition, they ultimately voted for ideas espoused in these two parties that are exactly where we'd like to see Iraq go.&nbsp;It is true that Sunnis largely voted for Iraqiya and that the Iraqiya's constituency was largely Sunni, and it is true that a great many of the Shias, probably a majority of the Shia, voted for Dawa, for the State of Law Coalition, and that their constituency is overwhelmingly Shia.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, nevertheless, it's important to keep in mind what these two parties represent in Iraq and what they represented in the course of this election.&nbsp;These were the two parties that were most identified in people's minds with secularism, with democracy, with anti‑sectarianism, with the rule of law.&nbsp;It's not to suggest that these are perfect people, and it's not to suggest that these people are without flaw.&nbsp;It's simply to suggest that within the universe of Iraqi political parties that were running, at least the big ones, these were actually the two parties that were closest, that represented for Iraqis the ideals that we want to see Iraq espouse and move forward on.&nbsp;That's what Iraqis voted for, and that's, again, a very positive step.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The concern I have is that ‑‑ both Kim and Marisa were alluding to this ‑‑ that what came out of the election was this very positive set of steps.&nbsp;It was a victory for Iraqis.&nbsp;It was a very important step forward for them, and, for that reason, it was also a very important step forward for us.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But the great problem is that the elections are only ‑‑ the elections themselves, that is, were only part of the larger political process going on, and my great fear is that we may lose all of the positive gains of the election in this process of government formation.&nbsp;And, of course, that would be a great tragedy.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Just to kind of reinforce the point in my conversations with Iraqis over the past few weeks, I've heard a lot of people expressing a tremendous amount of frustration, especially at the height of the shenanigans of the Accountability and Justice Commission before it was decided that their ultimate bid to not only have the votes ‑‑ the candidates disqualified but the votes canceled altogether.&nbsp;When it looked like that might actually happen, you had a lot of Iraqis talking about their elections ‑‑ and this is my analogy, not theirs ‑‑ but as if the elections were nothing but the coin toss at the beginning of some sporting event.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And, yeah, it was always nice to win the coin toss, but it was rarely the case that winning the coin toss meant that you won the game, that the game was really played after the coin toss, and the coin toss was almost incidental.&nbsp;And that would be a terrible, terrible outcome if that is ultimately what Iraqis see from this election and the larger electoral and political process that comes from this.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In many ways, I think that is the first thing that the United States has to guard against when we think about this election and what it is that we hope over the long term, the impact that it has on the country.&nbsp;This idea that there is a stolen election, which you are hearing from a number of Iraqis, is an extremely dangerous one.&nbsp;It's something that Kim spoke to in many of her points.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Going back to Marisa's presentation, it isn't just about the shenanigans of the Accountability and Justice Commission.&nbsp;It's about a whole variety of other issues as well; in particular, the performance of the judiciary which, as Marisa pointed out, to many Iraqis is behaved in a very suspicious fashion, constantly finding in such a way that seem to accord perfectly with what it was that the government seemed to want.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And I'm not going to speculate on whether or not this was coincidence or not.&nbsp;All I am pointing out is that there were a lot of Iraqis who were pointing at that and were very concerned about that pattern of behavior.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; If what comes out of this is an Iraqi perception that the elections were stolen, it could have a whole series of grave repercussions for Iraq, not least among them ‑‑ because what Iraqis are going to conclude at that point is not just that the election was stolen, but that the Americans allowed it to happen.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We have a very, very mixed bag in Iraq.&nbsp;When you talk to Iraqis about the United States, when you poll them about the United States, you get stuff all over the map.&nbsp;Iraqis hate us; they love us.&nbsp;You know, most Iraqis hate us and love us in the same second, in the same breath.&nbsp;We are their savior; we are their destroyer.&nbsp;I mean, you name it, it's all in there.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What I always like to say about Iraqis is the Iraqis are absolutely determined to see that we leave, and they are terrified that we will.&nbsp;And I think that kind of sums it up really nicely.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But one of the things they still look to, to us, one of the reasons why our presence is not just tolerated but that in some level, in almost every Iraqi heart, I would suspect even with the Sadrists, the reason that they actually do want us to remain for some additional period of time is that we continue to be seen as the ultimate guarantor of Iraq's stability, its piece, and its democratic system.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Whenever I talk about Iraqis these days, I try to remind audiences ‑‑ and most audiences aren't even aware of this ‑‑ we actually have a tremendous amount of literature, a tremendous amount of very good scholarly work on the history of these kind of intercommunal civil wars, exactly like the civil war that Iraq went through in 2005, 2006, 2007, largely because of our mistakes, it's always worth reminding everyone.&nbsp;What the scholarship demonstrates is that there is a terrifying high recidivism rate for these kind of civil wars.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Over 50 percent of the states that have gone through a major intercommunal civil war like Iraqis return to civil war within 5 years of a cease‑fire.&nbsp;They are very hard to stamp out, and all of the same problems that brought about the civil war in Iraq, that bring about these civil wars all across the world, and that cause them to recur remain right under the surface in Iraq.&nbsp;Iraqis remain deeply fearful.&nbsp;They don't trust each other yet.&nbsp;They don't trust their leaders.&nbsp;Their leaders don't trust each other.&nbsp;The militias are down, but they are not out.&nbsp;They would love the opportunity to come back.&nbsp;And, again, this is not to say that it is inevitable.&nbsp;As I said, it's about 50 percent of the time.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, the numbers actually get worse when you look at the scholarship because any country that has large, very valuable natural resources ‑‑ gold, diamonds, oil ‑‑ the number goes up, and it's up over 70 percent for those kind of countries.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The good news that that same academic work demonstrates is that when you have a major great power, an external great power that is willing to play the role of mediator and peacekeeper, that number goes down to under 1 in 3, to about 28 percent.&nbsp;That's our role in Iraq, and I doubt that any of the Iraqis have read the wonderful books by Barbara Walter and Jim Mason that lay all this stuff out, but, in their gut, they get it.&nbsp;They understand it.&nbsp;That's our role in Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So one of the worst things that could happen from this is the Iraqi sense that the election was stolen and the Americans let it happen, because the Iraqis right now are trying to figure out what it is that the United States still wants in Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; They've heard what President Obama had to say when he was a candidate, they've heard what he's had to say since then, and they're still trying to figure it out.&nbsp;They're still trying to figure out how committed he truly is to Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, when you talk to Iraqis, one thing that they still do seem to think the United States believes is important is their democratic system of governments, and so, if one of the outcomes of the election is that Iraqis believe that the election was stolen, that their democratic system of government was subverted, and the Americans allowed it to happen, that will be a tremendously problematic blow to their thinking about the American commitment to Iraq, whatever we say, because what they will see, what they will believe is that if the United States allowed this to happen and if the United States is going to stand aside and not do anything to stop the subversion of Iraqi democracy ‑‑ &quot;That was the one thing we knew the Americans wanted, and if they don't even want that, if they're not even going to stand up for that, they're probably not going to stand up for anything,&quot; and that would be a very, very dangerous signal to Iraqis that the United States is not going to prevent a recurrence of civil war, and that is exactly the psychological mind‑set that causes the recurrence of civil war.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There's another element in it as well, which is just as problematic and will doubtless contribute to the same process if it takes place, which is, again, as Kim was suggesting before, that one of the most important positive aspects of Iraqi politics over the last 2 or 3 years has been the emergence of democratic pressures.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the most incredible things that we saw in Iraq beginning in about 2008 was that Iraqi politicians suddenly realized that they were going to actually have to run for office, and the voters would get to decide whether or not they came back into office.&nbsp;And that terrified them in a wonderfully positive way because, all of a sudden, they realized they needed to deliver for their constituents.&nbsp;They needed to go out there and show their constituents that they were doing what their constituency wanted, and what their constituency wanted was exactly what we wanted.&nbsp;Their constituency wanted them to bury the hatchet, reconcile with the other groups, and start providing jobs, water, sewerage, infrastructure, education, and everything else that the people needed.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And in 2008, 2009, you saw movements in a whole variety of positive directions in Iraq because Iraqi politicians were terrified that they were going to get unelected come election time by constituents who believed they were doing nothing, and, as I started off by saying, their constituents did believe they were doing nothing.&nbsp;They hated their politicians; they wanted to get rid of pretty much every single one of them.&nbsp;And when you spoke to most Iraqis before the actual election, a lot of them were basically saying, &quot;Look, we'd love to just kind of clean house, start all over again with a completely new political leadership, but we understand that's not possible.&nbsp;So we're just going to vote for the people we think are going to be best, but we're not expecting a whole lot from them.&quot;</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, if what Iraqis take away from this election, again, is that our vote, our effort to go in there and determine who should have political power is meaningless and it's ultimately going to be decided by a whole bunch of back room deals and, worse than that, a bunch of completely illegal and unconstitutional shenanigans to throw some people out and bring other people in, clearly there is no particular reason for us to pay any attention to this process whatsoever, and that will simply reinforce that same tendency.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; All of the people who don't have any interest in actually winning elections, in many cases because they know they can't, like Ahmed Chalabi, who doesn't even bother to try to actually run for office, who simply does try to pull as many strings behind the scenes as he can and subvert the entire process, those people will be advantaged, and their opponents will actually not have to feel ‑‑ will not feel the need to actually deliver for their people.&nbsp;It will make no sense to them.&nbsp;Why bother doing so if the vote doesn't count?&nbsp;Much better to actually just do the deal, subvert the process, do whatever you can.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Of course, the problem there is that down that road also lies violence because, if that's the way Iraqi politics are played ‑‑ and, again, this is what we saw in 2004, 2005, 2006 ‑‑ if that's the way Iraqi politics are played, then some group that is getting beaten in those back room deals in that process of subversion, that group is basically going to say, &quot;Why shouldn't we start shooting?&nbsp;If these guys are going to put us in prison by concocting lies about us,&quot; which is effectively what the AJC has done, &quot;then why shouldn't we shoot back?&quot;&nbsp;And this was a large measure of what propelled the Sunni insurgency, and, again, it's exactly the fears of this kind of behavior that could reignite civil war in Iraq at some point down the road.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, another problem, again, that Kim alluded to and Marisa alluded to in their remarks lies in the nature of the government itself because not only do we have to avoid this problem of a stolen government and the perception that the United States may have allowed it to happen and all the damage that that could ultimately do to Iraq's political process in its development, we also actually have to make sure that we get an Iraqi government that can move in the positive direction.&nbsp;So, just as we have to make sure it doesn't move in a negative direction, we also have to do some things to make sure it moves in a positive direction.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And, in particular, what we need is an Iraqi government that can govern and reconcile.&nbsp;That's going to be very difficult.&nbsp;It's going to be very difficult to square both of those things.&nbsp;It's going to be very difficult to get an Iraqi government that can do either, and it's going to be harder still to get one that can do both, especially given the outcome of the election.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; First, let's look at just what we're dealing with right now.&nbsp;We've got right now what looks like the makings of the 2005 Iraqi coalition, the sequel.&nbsp;Okay?&nbsp;All of the groups, the INA, the SoL, had negotiations, and their declaration that they're going to bring the Kurds right back into it is simply going to be re‑creating the electoral coalition that took power in 2005.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Now, it's a different coalition.&nbsp;That coalition was dominated by ISCI and Hakim.&nbsp;Hakim is dead.&nbsp;ISCI is in very bad shape.&nbsp;Dawa has emerged.&nbsp;Maliki is now the more dominant figure.&nbsp;The Sadrists are also wholly in a more powerful position than they were.&nbsp;The Kurds are in a weaker position than they were.&nbsp;But, nevertheless, it is the same ruling coalition.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And what we saw from that coalition is that it didn't do a great job of either governing or reconciling.&nbsp;So one of the questions that we need to be asking ourselves is what is going to be different this time around, how can it be different this time around, and I'd say that that is especially the case because, as I suggested to you before, there was at least the incentive of the elections themselves to push these guys forward to some extent, but then, beyond that, there was also the United States of America to push them forward.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We've pushed that government as hard as we possibly could to reconcile and to govern properly, and we did get some things out of them, some not unimportant things out of them, but we certainly didn't get them to where we wanted them to be, to where their people wanted them to be.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And, as you're all aware, our influence in Iraq is declining.&nbsp;It's not zero.&nbsp;It's not going like this.&nbsp;Our influence in Iraq is still enormous, but it is declining, and, of course, in the Middle East, it is the perception that matters.&nbsp;It is the line ‑‑ it is the ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ the angle of the slope, not the actual position on the graph that often matters.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So our ability to push that government is going to be limited moving forward, and they no longer have the threat of elections hanging forward ‑‑ hanging over their heads to keep pushing them forward.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So I think we do have to ask that question of what is going to be different about this governing coalition, would it produce the kind of progress on governance, on reconciliation that we and the Iraqis actually need, given how it performed beforehand.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I'll say that I still believe ‑‑ and Marisa was suggesting this ‑‑ I still believe it is possible to have an SoL‑Iraqiya coalition.&nbsp;The one big thing standing in the way of that is the simple fact ‑‑ and it's small but kind of important ‑‑ that Maliki and Allawi hate each other.&nbsp;I have no idea how those two guys will sort any of this stuff out, but they both recognize that it would be best for both of them to have the other as their junior coalition partner.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [Laughter.]</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;That's the problem.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And, you know, this meeting that Marisa alluded to, you know, I've been waiting for this all along because talking to their different people right after the election for weeks thereafter, it was very clear they all knew that there was going to be a showdown.&nbsp;There was going to be some kind of a, you know, poker game between the two of them, and the real question, what they were doing for weeks and weeks beforehand, was seeing how many cards they could pull out of the other guy's hand before they sat down to have the poker game to determine who was going to be the junior and the senior partner in this kind of an alliance and whether they could actually have a coalition.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I don't know whether they can, but it certainly remains a possibility, and the mere fact that there is a written agreement, you know, it's Iraq, that's nothing.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [Laughter.]</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;Written agreements are simply meant to be used as napkins.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [Laughter.]</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;But, even still ‑‑ and, you know, that kind of a government, Iraqiya, look, if you could somehow get an Iraqiya‑SoL alliance, that government could govern.&nbsp;They will have a huge bloc in the parliament.&nbsp;Everybody else will flock to be part of the government.&nbsp;They can pretty much do whatever they want.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The problem is that it will create other issues, as every solution in Iraq does, and the most obvious one is it could terrify the Kurds because Maliki and Allawi getting together is almost certainly going to result in the Kurds being pushed out of a lot of key positions.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I mean, first of all, it's not clear that under that kind of a circumstance that Talabani would remain as President because, you know, especially right now, if Iraqiya is the junior partner, I cannot imagine Ayad Allawi, who I have known for 18 years, agreeing to be Speaker of the Parliament.&nbsp;I think he will want a better job than that, and the only better job out there is the President's, and that becomes very problematic for the Kurds.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And what's more, you know, we haven't talked about this ‑‑ I'm not going to, but there are obviously all kinds of internal Kurdish problems.&nbsp;It could play into the internal Kurdish problems, and I would be very fearful that Massoud Barzani's reaction to all of this would be to basically say, &quot;If the central government isn't going to give us what we want, as President and a few other key cabinet posts, then that's clearly a declaration of war.&nbsp;I'm going home to Barzan, close the border, and the central government can call us when they're ready to talk.&nbsp;Otherwise, they can talk to my Kalashnikovs,&quot; which would not be ‑‑ first, it would not be unusual for Barzani to reach that kind of a conclusion, but it would also, obviously, not be a good step forward for the Iraqis.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Let me finish by talking a little bit about American politics and how it plays into all of this.&nbsp;Obviously, the administration has got its work cut out for it.&nbsp;On the one hand, as I said, they have recognized that there are some real positives in Iraq, and that's a wonderful step forward.&nbsp;That is a tremendous improvement over where they were when they came into office, and I actually can point to a lot of things that the administration has done to try to buttress the positive forces in Iraq, and I think that's also very useful.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I will give you one.&nbsp;The fact that the administration has gone from talking about how every combat troop is removed on August 2010, which, of course, was wrong, even when the President said it in the State of the Union Address, to now talking about how, by God, there are going to be 50,000 shooters in Iraq, that's a very important step forward and a recognition of what it is actually that what the Iraqis want from us and a recognition also that American domestic politics can actually bear some of that load, that we can do some things that are important to Iraq and not jeopardize the President's standing here.&nbsp;I think that's a very important sign of progress on the part of the administration.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; By the same token, though, the administration does have a problem with American domestic political opinion here in terms of they do have a withdrawal deadline.&nbsp;I agree with Kim.&nbsp;We're sticking to that drawdown time table, but there is real concern among the American populous.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The democratic base wants out, and, by God, they are going to hold Barack Obama to that deadline.&nbsp;The independents, if you look at the poll, are very nervous about, quote/unquote, &quot;losing Iraq,&quot; and if this process does continue to play out ‑‑ and I completely agree with Kim ‑‑ some of the best statements I've heard from senior administration officials is that they recognize the need to let it play out and not force Iraq's hand because we could get a very bad government, one that, in the short term, meets the political needs to show the independents that things are going well, but, over the longer term, could be deeply problematic because it will neither be able to govern nor to reconcile.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, nevertheless, the President has got to be able to do something to show the independents that things are going okay, and if there is greater politics and the politicking just keeps going on and on and on and on in Iraq, that could be very problematic.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; By the same token, though, we have to be very careful about how we react to the problems in Iraq.&nbsp;Kim was talking a little bit in her closing remarks about the withdrawal time table.&nbsp;I want to do the same thing in my closing remarks.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We've talked a lot ‑‑ you know, Kim and I in particular ‑‑ about the potential to maybe delay the drawdown.&nbsp;Delay a withdrawal of the brigade has a good way of sending a signal, and I think that that is still something out there that we can and should hold out as something that we could do at the end of the day.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But we also have to be very careful about that because it can send a very horrible signal, exactly the wrong direction.&nbsp;If we suddenly delay a brigade, the Iraqis are going to decide, &quot;Wow!&nbsp;Something happened that really caught the Americans' attention, and, boy, if the Obama administration is going to delay the withdrawal of the brigade, maybe something really bad is going on.&quot;&nbsp;It's a very important psychological signal.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Again, Kim and I have made this argument, and I think we were absolutely right to do so, that if Iraq is going in the wrong direction, it could swing the psychology back the other way, &quot;Buy us time.&nbsp;Give us an opportunity to get things back on track,&quot; and that's very true.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The problem is if we get it wrong and the psychology is actually in the right place and we do this, it could swing things exactly in the wrong direction, and that's a way of saying that what we're doing in Iraq right now is incredibly important because a formation of Iraq's government is going to have profound consequences for the Iraqi state over the long term, and that has profound consequences for our own interest in the region.&nbsp;And it's an unbelievably delicate balance right now.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As I said, we are still very strong in Iraq, but our position is diminishing.&nbsp;We have to make sure that it is a good government in Iraq, but we can't be seen as picking the next government.&nbsp;We have to make sure that it is a government that can govern, that can reconcile, that can do both at the same time, but we have been dealt a series of cards in this election that make it very, very hard to do that.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; That's why for the moment, I'm really glad I'm not the one in government being forced to do this.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thank you all.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Thanks.&nbsp;&nbsp; Let's turn to questions.&nbsp;Questions?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ATTENDEE:</b>&nbsp;Yes.&nbsp;This question is to Dr. Pollack.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Mm‑hmm.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ATTENDEE:</b>&nbsp;Any emerging democracies, especially one that grows out of ethnic and religious conflict, the legislative entity has to be viable.&nbsp;So I'm very curious to hear your perspective on the future of the legislative body in Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And, secondly, you talked about what the United States can do, but how much more cooperation do you see the United States having going forward to establish a sustainable government in Iraq?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;Do you want to take it?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;I think this is a stand‑alone question.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;Yeah.&nbsp;I think it's actually a great parallel question.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; First, with regard to the viability of the electoral body, the COR, the history is good so far.&nbsp;The Iraqi Council of Representatives has demonstrated its strength.&nbsp;It has stood up on a number of occasions and blocked the Prime Minister, on a number of occasions to block the Prime Minister when we wouldn't necessarily have wanted it to do so, but, nevertheless, that does speak to exactly the issue that you're getting at.&nbsp;And, in particular, you saw in 2009, in particular, instances where blocs of Sunni and some Shia but one of secular representatives were basically able to band together to do this.&nbsp;So, again, that speaks to the ability of groups that are not part of the ruling coalition to, nevertheless, use the legislature to, at the very least, prevent things from happening that they consider very, very detrimental to their interests.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The problem lies in what's happened or what could be happening as a result of the election.&nbsp;Again, I think we got good results, but nothing is over in Iraq, and especially when Ahmed Chalabi is involved, as I always say, until you put a stake through his heart, he will just keep coming back.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [Laughter.]</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;Okay.&nbsp;If we know anything from horror movies, it is that.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I won't count the HEC out completely.&nbsp;They could rear their ugly head again, and if Iraqi legislators believe that they can be removed from office by an extra constitutional organ acting in a, probably, illegal fashion, let's just say that that's going to have a chilling effect on the Iraqi legislature and its willingness to stand up to this government or any government moving forward.&nbsp;So I think that's a critical one.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And then your point about the relationship and moving forward, the longer term bilateral, multilateral relationship, again, you're absolutely right.&nbsp;This is a critical issue going forward.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Again, one of the better conversations I've had with senior officials of the Obama administration is that they increasingly recognize that that long‑term bilateral relationship is actually as much in the Iraqi government's interest as it is in ours, and they are trying to structure it in such a way that it simultaneously secures our long‑term interest in Iraq, and those go, extend beyond Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I mean, one of the things, actually it's kind of a side point, but we're having this crazy debate over whether or not to sell Iraq F‑16s.&nbsp;The Iraqis don't need F‑16s.&nbsp;General Dubik can speak for 2 hours on why the Iraqis don't need F‑16s.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We need the Iraqis to have F‑16s, and it has nothing to do with jobs.&nbsp;It has nothing to do with money.&nbsp;It's all about tying the Iraqi military to the U.S. military, and the strongest proponents of that position are actually all of the GCC military chiefs, who are terrified of the Iraqis and who believe that the only way to ensure that Iraq is not going to be a threat to them is by tying Iraq to the United States.&nbsp;So that's, you know, one aspect of that long‑term view.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The other one is to basically recognize that the Iraqi leadership needs this because they need it to deliver to their people, and that becomes a source of leverage.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Great question.&nbsp;And if I can take the liberty of recommending a couple of papers that ISW has done, particularly our Iraq Report 14 on &quot;Balancing Maliki,&quot; I think that you would find it a very interesting statement of how it is that the legislature within Iraq developed over the course of 2009.&nbsp;A profoundly interesting question.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; All right.&nbsp;Additional questions?&nbsp;Yes, ma'am.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ATTENDEE:</b>&nbsp;I'm always concerned and interested in how leaders make decisions, what motivates them to make decisions, and knowing that the eyes of the world are on these two leaders in question now, is there anything in their political psychology that suggests that they care and are concerned about their legacy in context to the eyes of the world?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Great question.&nbsp;Who wants to take it?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; MS. SULLIVAN:</b>&nbsp;What's interesting is that, first of all, in terms of leverage by using Iraq's standing within the international community, that has been an important part, and you've seen particularly the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), take a very important role in government formation.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ad Melkert, who is the UNAMI rep in Iraq, has been meeting with all the parties, and he's been doing some very constructive things, as had his predecessor, in terms of making sure that the Iraqis knew that the international community was watching what was going on.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; With regard to Maliki and his legacy, he made an interesting statement yesterday or today saying that, you know, we need to be careful with government formation because, if you do exclude certain parties, there is the risk of sectarian violence.&nbsp;That was the first time I had heard Maliki make a statement like that.&nbsp;You had heard him say that, you know, it should include all parties, but he brought up the sectarian violence aspect.&nbsp;So I'm sure that it is certainly a thought that, you know, there is a risk of, you know ‑‑ of going back to a situation that the Iraqis and the United States ‑‑ but more so that the Iraqis had spilled a lot of blood to get to a point where things could improve.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So I don't know Maliki's psyche.&nbsp;I think he's an interesting study.&nbsp;But from public statements, you do see some indication that they are thinking about the future and how it will be reflected.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Ken?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;Yeah.&nbsp;Just quick, a couple of points, kind of a personal level.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I have never met Maliki, but I actually know a lot of the people who are closest to him, and, as I said, I've known Ayad for a long time.&nbsp;They do both have a very clear sense of a larger mission of what it is they hope to accomplish.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; They actually believe in the stuff that they espouse.&nbsp;Now, they espouse very different things, and for Ayad, it is the greatest of Iraq, rebuilding Iraq as a strong state, and he wants to be the person who is recognized by his people and by history as having done that, as having restored that.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; For Maliki as well, he wants to build a strong Iraq.&nbsp;He has a slightly different conception of that from Ayad but not so ‑‑ actually not so different that it's incompatible.&nbsp;The problem is who is going to do it.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Maliki also is very nationalistic, but he also is shaped by his history of being in the Dawa Party, being hunted by Saddam, living in Iran, being evicted from Iran, living in Syria under that kind of a government, and he's very much a product of all of those forces.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So, you know, oftentimes, you know, I will ‑‑ first, I think Maliki often does get a bad rap from people who don't really understand his motivations, and even when he does things that I find highly objectionable and he does some things that are highly objectionable, I, nevertheless, can often understand why he did it, and it often doesn't come from necessarily a bad place.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And, in particular, you hear people say he's a &quot;stooge of Iran.&quot;&nbsp;He's not a stooge of Iran.&nbsp;He actually doesn't care for the Iranians at all.&nbsp;He'd like to keep them very much at arm's length.&nbsp;And what's more, you often hear people saying he wants to be a dictator.&nbsp;I don't think he wants to be a dictator at all.&nbsp;The problem is, again, you know, where he comes from is a place where he is deeply suspicious, and he often lashes out in response to perceived threats, and, as a result, he takes actions that appear dictatorial.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;More questions?&nbsp;Yes.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ATTENDEE:</b>&nbsp;Yeah.&nbsp;Both you and Dr. Pollack mentioned a lot about not just governance but reconciliation, and you were talking about how it's important that there is this ongoing process for reconciliation.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I mean, we see around the world a lot of parliamentary systems where it's a little bit messy and, you know, just governance is pretty much all they can manage for centuries at length, and they'll just continue to never quite get to the point of complete reconciliation.&nbsp;Don't you think that governance just by itself is a little more important than attempting to try to pile all of the solutions together and make sure everything happens, you know, if there's a perfect solution or reconciliation also?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;I don't think anybody on this panel would talk about a perfect solution nor ‑‑ I don't speak for Ken or Marisa, but my conversations with them, I think they would tend to agree that we are not actually seeking a fully reconciled outcome.&nbsp;That's not really what we are looking for.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, look, in order for government and governance to continue in Iraq, there actually has to be a modicum of accommodation between those groups who were engaged either in fighting or in supporting a very different vision of the state.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And so what we're talking about is really a process by which the extending of governance in Iraq, the ability for the government actually to exercise its authority properly and in accordance generally with its rule of law is something that actually requires a degree of accommodation between Shia and Sunni and also between Sunni and Kurd and, quite frankly, Shia and Kurd.&nbsp;There has to be a little bit of give‑and‑take in terms of how much power the central authority has, how much power the provinces have, how much power the regions have, and that's part of the ongoing debate and discussion.&nbsp;And what the government can and cannot do, what it uses military force to accomplish as opposed to, you know, law to accomplish is also very much in the play.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So, as we look at this question of reconciliation, let's not think that it's some grandiose solution to what is going to be an ongoing and infinitely complex set of problems that will undoubtedly be the heart of Iraqi politics for decades to come, but we should actually see the next steps of the next government as something that advances a little bit the ability for Sunni to participate in government in a meaningful way, without actually resorting to the use of violence, that actually integrates the Kurdish region into the state rather than forcing it to decide to go out on its own and be an independent entity.&nbsp;Those are some of the issues that are actually really quite interwoven in reintegration, reconciliation, and governance.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So we have to let those processes play out, and we have to set it up, so that those processes play out within the bounds of politics rather than spilling over into violence, and precisely because they are going to be part of Iraqi life for decades to come, it is important to set up a system of governance by which they can actually be resolved and adjudicated rather than exploited variously by a number of factions.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And on that, I actually want to use that as leverage into a point that we did not really discuss about what the nature of a unity government might be in Iraq, and there has been a great deal of discussion about whether or not the next government of Iraq must include all major parties, and that's a talking point that western officials and Iraqi officials have used.&nbsp;It's a great‑sounding talking point.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And it's probably true that given the plurality of votes and the difficulty that the coalitions are having coming together, it is essential to make sure that these coalitions are represented in government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What matters here is that the political coalitions and the entities that were actually viable in the election are represented, and we should not be looking simply to see, &quot;Are there Sunni in government?&nbsp;Yes, check the block.&nbsp;We have a unity government.&nbsp;Are there Kurds in government?&nbsp;Yes, check the block.&nbsp;We've got a unity government.&quot;&nbsp;What we actually have to see is the secular Sunni parties who actually came out ahead in the elections represented in the government.&nbsp;What we have to see are those Kurdish ‑‑ those Kurdish elements that are actually representative of the Kurds involved in government, and it's going to take them a while to work that out.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But we really mustn't confuse inclusion with the distribution of power, and that, again, gets to this question of can we reconcile among groups.&nbsp;Yes, we can, as long as the ongoing discussion is about the distribution of power among them and as long as that power is distributed in a way that is consistent with democratic principles.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Let's take one more question.&nbsp;Please, over here on the side.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ATTENDEE:</b>&nbsp;Thanks.&nbsp;Dr. Kagan, you and Dr. Pollack, I think, both mentioned the importance of the U.S. taking a stand without seeming to involve itself in the election process itself.&nbsp;And then, Dr. Pollack, I think you also mentioned the fact that right after the election, all of the leaders of the Shia parties went to Tehran to discuss the formation of a government.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So I'm wondering if you might be able to share some thoughts on how the U.S. government might be able to take a stand to, you know, defend the integrity of the process, to promote democracy, but also to counter the sort of vested interest that the Iranian government has, the influence that they've been exerting in that process.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;I go first?&nbsp;All right.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; First and foremost, we actually have to work as a negotiator and a broker in this process, and over the past week to 10 days, the United States has taken a much more active role in brokering some of the meetings between high‑level officials.&nbsp;And it's been very good to see that, and I think that that has actually been one of the reasons why the State of Law Coalition with the Iraqi National Alliance has kind of faltered a little bit, because of our diplomatic engagement, our outreach to all parties and all sides, and our actual involvement in facilitating meetings in conjunction with the United Nations.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And so, first of all, diplomatic activism is actually key, and what kind of diplomatic activism that that really is, is also key because, you know, there can be discussions where we sort of ‑‑ how senior officials enter into a conversation about what are the possibilities that you're thinking of and this and that and the other thing, and then we can have conversations where we actually annunciate U.S. interest:&nbsp;this government must be democratic, it must be inclusive, it must actually represent in some way the will of the voters, it must actually work to solve some of the underlying tensions and problems here.&nbsp;Those are preferences that we can actually express and that we do need actually to express.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thirdly, I think it would help enormously if U.S. policymakers actually reiterated their support for Iraq and for the democratic process.&nbsp;I think one of the things that Iraqis fear, as Ken mentioned, is a disengagement of the United States from Iraq, and a reaffirmation that this is actually a very important time in Iraqi history and that the United States is going to continue to stand by Iraq as a friend and ally and stand by the democratic process as the entity that began it in Iraq would be an extraordinarily strong statement and not one that is often made in and from Washington.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And I think that this group shows the degree of interest that many in Washington actually have in Iraq, and yet, when you ask the question who is kind of talking about Iraq now, we get to the few, the very few.&nbsp;And we really need to see to it that we as a U.S. government, whether executive or legislative branch, actually say that we care.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; One of the ways to say that we care is, certainly, to say that we are going to develop an Iraq policy that is not based on troop levels but on governance, on all of the components of the security framework agreement ‑‑ the Strategic Framework Agreement that we signed with the Iraqis, and actually concretely implement some of those grand ideas.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And so I think it would certainly be worthwhile to be extremely proactive as a government in reaching out, in creating some of the cultural and economic liaisons that the Iraqis desire, but also to stop talking about the size of the force as the determinate of U.S. policy in Iraq; rather, to talk about U.S. interest in Iraq, our common interest with Iraq, and our common outlook on the region, and use that as the springboard for our interactions and negotiations.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So those are my top ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ five recommendations.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ken?</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. POLLACK:</b>&nbsp;Let me add one to yours, Kim.&nbsp;I think it's a big one, which is that I actually think that one of the most useful things that the United States can and should be doing in the course of the negotiations right now is actually making clear what is unacceptable to us, laying down what is simply beyond the pale, and, in my mind, that falls into three different categories, people, procedures, and policies or deals, however you want to put them.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; People.&nbsp;There are some people who should simply be verboten.&nbsp;Okay?&nbsp;Ahmed Chalabi cannot be Prime Minister.&nbsp;Okay?&nbsp;That's the most obvious one. &nbsp;I'm using him for that reason, but there are, obviously, other candidates out there as well.&nbsp;We ought to go to the Iraqis and say, &quot;Look, it is going to be a very big problem for you with us if you pick this guy or that guy to be your Prime Minister.&quot;</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Procedures.&nbsp;Everybody has to play by the rules.&nbsp;This is the point that Marisa and Kim and I have all been making all along, and, again, I think that we have gotten a good outcome, but, you know, nothing is ever done until it's done in Iraq.&nbsp;What the HEC was trying to do was an incredibly problematic procedure.&nbsp;What they were trying to do was to subvert the process.&nbsp;We cannot allow that to happen.&nbsp;It has to be clear that we will step in, there will be consequences, and there will be severe consequences if we see that kind of behavior.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And then last is deals, which is the one that we haven't talked about but is worth putting on the table as well.&nbsp;We are in a process right now.&nbsp;We're in a series of interlocking processes right now whereby all these different Iraqi parties are cutting deals over who is going to be Prime Minister, who is going to be Defense Minister, who is going to be Interior Minister, who gets how many seats, and which seats around which tables.&nbsp;And all of that is going to be very big and very complicated.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And there is the potential for some Iraqis to cut some really bad deals as a part of that, deals which frankly would propel the country back into war or that simply are unsustainable or frankly are just nonsense, they're a bunch of BS, and people will know it the moment they sign it.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And here, my greatest concern is actually with the Kurds.&nbsp;The Kurds right now believe that they are the king makers, and what they are hoping, what they believe, is that in return for anointing who the next Prime Minister of Iraq will be, they're going to get everything that they want on Kirkuk and the disputed boundaries and the hydrocarbon law.&nbsp;Okay.&nbsp;That would be a very, very dangerous precedent to have that locked into a deal about who is going to be the next Prime Minister.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; All of that can be dealt with once the government is formed and we go through this process of politics, which I agree with Kim, but I think that is the answer, and I think it's effectively what you are proposing, that reconciliation isn't going to be some South African Kumbaya moment, when there is a wonderful tribunal and everybody stands up and says, &quot;I did the following things, and they are forgiven.&quot;&nbsp;No way, not going to happen in Iraq.&nbsp;Reconciliation in Iraq is going to be the process of politics, but we've got to make sure that that process of politics can unfold without having bad deals made in the kind of pressure cooker of this political environment where people may be willing to give away things that they either can't deliver on, have no intention of delivering on, or have no business delivering on.</div>
<div><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DR. KAGAN:</b>&nbsp;Thank you so much, all of you, for coming to this event.&nbsp;I hope that you will continue to remain interested in Iraq.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; We have an active Iraq program at the Institute for the Study of War, and Ken has always been active in researching Iraq at Brookings.&nbsp;And so I hope that you will make use of the expertise that's available to you here in Washington.&nbsp;Our reports and briefings can all be done through our website, www.understandingwar.org.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I sincerely hope to see you again shortly at another event discussing both Iraqi politics and Iraqi security.&nbsp;So thanks very much for your time today.</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; [Applause.]</div>
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