Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Feisal Istrabadi on the tragedy of Iraq

Feisal Istrabadi, currently based at the University of Indiana Law School, played an advisory role in the drafting of Iraq's post-Saddam constitution and was Iraq's deputy ambassador to the United Nations from 2004-2007. His grandfather helped to draft Iraq's first constitution almost a century ago.

Today he was interviewed by Robin Young on NPR's "Here & Now".  This is a passage toward the end of the interview (which you can listen to here):

FI:  [....]  The issue isn't a military one in the first instance. The issue is political. You have to have a wise leadership in Baghdad—which is absent at the moment, unfortunately—which understands that if it does not act now, quickly, to make political compromises, no military solution can save the state of Iraq.

RY:  How painful is that for you personally? You were one of the Iraqis who, as we said, had left the country and pushed for the US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Some analysts [are] saying that Saddam Hussein, although he ruled with an iron fist, that iron fist kept these different factions together.  Now we have this. You're watching this from Indiana. How painful is this for you?

FI:  Well, let me first address the first part of your remark about, "well, he may have been unpleasant, but ..."  This is a man who is guilty of the deaths of no less than one million Iraqis over a period of 35 years. So there is no "he may have been a brutal tyrant" ... there is no "but" after that, there's no comma after that phrase.  It's a period.

  Having said that, I can say that none of my aspirations for Iraq have come true.  My worst fears, my greatest nightmares, have all been exceeded.  [....]

—Jeff Weintraub