News

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.
Comments
     
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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs