Iraqi Official Says US Both Source and Solution to Iraq's Woes

A senior advisor to Iraq's government says U.S. efforts to forge democracy in his country have been disastrous, but that the United States remains the only power capable of rectifying the situation. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where Ali Allawi, who has headed three Iraqi ministries since 2003, spoke with reporters.

In a newly published book, The Occupation of Iraq, Ali Allawi a cousin of former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, blasts what he terms the "monumental ignorance" of those in the United States who advocated and planned the 2003 invasion of his country. He alleges that critical mistakes were made after Saddam Hussein's ouster, such as disbanding Iraq's armed forces, and blasts what he terms the "rank amateurism and swaggering arrogance" of the U.S.-led former Coalition Provisional Authority that governed Iraq after the invasion.

Speaking at Washington's National Press Club on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to U.S.-led forces, Allawi says the post-invasion years have been a grave disappointment - a story of, in his words, "what could have been."

"After the invasion of Iraq, there was a set of policy decisions that were not only inappropriate and inexplicable, but in the context were incoherent," said Ali Allawi. "And this is really quite surprising, because we know the abilities and capabilities of the United States. We know what the United States did in similar contexts where it took on the responsibility of rebuilding states or entire continents."

Allawi says the Iraqi state the United States helped create is "dysfunctional." In a particularly pointed commentary, he says the state is more corrupt and less competent today than it was under Saddam Hussein.

But for all the failings and shortcomings, Allawi does not call for U.S. disengagement from Iraq. In fact, despite what he views as the poor U.S. track record when it comes to efforts in his nation, Allawi says the United States is the only power capable of helping to foster conditions in Iraq that will lead to a brighter future.

"I do not think we should write off the United States simply because the last four years have been a failed engagement in Iraq," he said. "It is the only country that has the means and resources to be able to effect real change on the ground. Frankly, I think any other country would have sunk a long time ago [in Iraq], given the stresses inside the country."

Allawi, who was educated in the United States and Britain and has held positions with the World Bank, says the United States should lead an international conference on Iraq in which all Iraqi factions and all of Iraq's neighbors come together to map out a way forward for his nation and the region as a whole.

The Bush administration has admitted that critical mistakes were made after the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. But U.S. officials insist that corrective steps have been taken over the years, and that the mission in Iraq is under constant review to improve operations and adjust to changing conditions on the ground.

Currently, the United States is boosting its troop level in Iraq. The build-up is scheduled to be completed in June, but administration officials say the initiative is already showing some positive signs that suggest improved security in targeted areas of Baghdad and one of Iraq's violence plagued provinces.

The goal is to curb civil strife and terrorist attacks, which have been major impediments to the consolidation of democratic rule in the country.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs