Marr Testimony on Where Is Iraq Header

Marr Testimony on Where Is Iraq Header - Testimony Senate...

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee January 10, 2007 Where is Iraq headed? Dr. Phebe Marr (Author, Consultant) I will be focusing almost entirely on Iraq‘s domestic politics, my area of expertise, and hopefully bringing a little historical perspective to bear, since I have been working on Iraq for some 50 years now. I would like to address three questions today. First, where is Iraq today? What are the chief political and social characteristics we face? Second, how can we account for this situation? And lastly, is the current situation likely to be lasting? Or is it transient? Is it remediable? First, what can be said about the situation in Iraq today? Iraq since 2003 has undergone not one but several revolutionary changes, of a proportion not seen since the collapse of Ottoman Empire and the formation of the new Iraqi state in the 1920s. The first has been a revolutionary change in leadership. It is not simply that a regime and its dictatorial head have been—not only figuratively but now literally—decapitated, but an entirely new leadership group has come to power. This leadership, brought to power essentially by elections in 2005, has now entirely reversed several of the characteristics of the old Ba’th regime, and even the transitional regimes that replaced it in 2003 and 2004. It has changed the ethnic and sectarian composition of the leadership. (It is now dominated by Shi’ah and Kurds rather than Arab Sunnis). It has changed the ideological orientation from one which was secular and nationalist, devoted to a unitary Iraqi state, to one with different visions but far more dominated by religion. At the same time, it has brought more women into power and in general is better educated. The new leaders come, more often, from urban origin, whereas Saddam’s clique were more rural and small town born. But the change has also now brought new men and women into power. They have three distinct characteristics worth noting. First is their inexperience and the discontinuity in their leadership. Some 76% percent in this cabinet and presidency hold such jobs for the first time. This has meant a lack of experience, a steep learning curve, and an inability to establish links with one another and with constituencies. Most have had little chance to gain experience because of the continual change of cabinets. Second, the change has also brought a divide between a group of leaders with roots in exile who have lived outside of Iraq and Kurds who have been living in the north separate from the rest of Iraq on the one hand, and those who remained inside living under Saddam on the other. The latter include key elements now in opposition, such as the Ba’th, as well as the younger generation and the dispossessed who follow Muqtada al-Sadr. Some 28% are outsiders, now mainly from Middle Eastern rather than Western countries; some 15% are Kurds; only 26% are insiders. Third, and most important, is the fact that the key leaders in power today have all
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Marr Testimony on Where Is Iraq Header - Testimony Senate...

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