Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vice President of Iraq in DC

Just got back from an event hosted over at USIP featuring Vice President Tariq al Hashimi, thus the delay in posting. I'll try and insert some analysis later, but I wanted to quickly relay some of the more interesting points he made.First here is a quick intro to VP al Hashimi taken from the Iraq Study Group Report:
"Hashimi is one of two vice presidents of Iraq and the head of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni Muslim bloc in parliament. Hashimi opposes the formation of autonomous regions and has advocated the distribution of oil revenues based on population, a reversal of de-Baathification, and the removal of Shiite militia fighters from the Iraqi security forces. Shiite death squads have recently killed three of his siblings."
1) the U.S. wrongly dismantled Iraqi army and police forces thinking the entire regime was Sunni when in fact 90% of soldiers are Shia. This created an enormous security vacuum and is largely to blame for the present situation. The U.S. must correct their mistake by funding, equiping and training a new Iraq army and police

2) Once Iraq has a fully operational and effective security force, the U.S. must leave Iraq. Iraq will bear the burden of any further bloodshed

3) the insurgency has been mis-characterized. It has no ideological basis and as such should be considered in terms of a resistance group. Its only purpose is to force the U.S. to leave Iraq. Once the U.S. complies, the "insurgency" will disappear

4) the solution to the crisis in Iraq is political. Once a constitution and government is set up that features input from all parties/sects within Iraq and is agreeable to all parties/sects the violence will end

5) When asked about the Iraq Study Group's recommendation that the U.S. engage Syria and Iran over Iraq, VP al Hashimi replied that other countries cannot decide Iraq's future. Besides he added jokingly, Iran and the U.S. really have enough to talk about, he wouldn't want to burden them with the Iraqi crisis as well.

Let me add that al Hashimi seems genuine in his desire to unite all Iraqis regardless of sect and he has shown in the past, particularly when he signed the constitution despite their being little Sunni input, that he is willing to compromise his own party goals to achieve stability in Iraq.

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