Mere days after sobering official ceremonies marked the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq, America’s most dubious partner – Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki – charged his Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with aiding and abetting terrorism and sought to remove his Deputy Prime Minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq from office. In short order, sectarian violence spread rapidly from the capital city of Baghdad, further south into Basra and north towards Mosul. Within a month, nearly 450 Iraqis had lost their lives – one of the highest tolls for short an amount of time in years.
However, the physical violence that rocked the struggling democracy concealed a major political crisis simmering below the superficial horrors of car bombs and death squads. Iraqis now face a new crisis as the fragile government juggles uncertain national unity under pressure of sectarian tension and raw competition for political leverage.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is holding a special forum, “The State of Iraq” to discuss the growing political crisis left behind in the wake of America’s military occupation. Ad Melkert, former UN Special Representative in Iraq, and Carnegie’s Marina Ottoway will discuss the prospects for quelling the gathering storm.
The United States has exited Iraq, stage left, but for the second time since the 2003 invasion disrupted Saddam’s autocracy, the state finds itself on the verge of disintegration. Thank goodness some folks haven’t forgotten our obligation to help clean up the mess we left behind.