Saturday, December 03, 2005

Iraq: The Scholars Speak Out

Gareth Porter is a Foreign Policy In Focus scholar. His book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, will be published in May 2005 by University of California Press.

By Gareth Porter

PORTER: "The United States is not playing the role of disinterested trustee in Iraq, allowing Sunnis and Shi'ites or Arabs and Kurds to work out their differences. Instead, the counterinsurgency war prevents the Sunnis and Shi'ites from negotiating a new arrangement for power-sharing. Such negotiations will only happen if and when it is clear to Iraqis that the United States is on its way out. Americans who are worried that an early withdrawal would be irresponsible should reexamine the question of which course is most likely to contribute to violence, and which one has the best chance of minimizing it." Read more.

By Gareth Porter

"The final communiqué of the Cairo Conference of Iraqi political groups last week appears to be a tentative first step in a process that could eventually lead to a peace settlement in Iraq." Read more.

Juan Cole is professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. Previously, he served as the Director of the universities Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, from 1992 – 1995. His current research focuses on Shiite Islam in Iraq and Iran and the "jihadi" or "sacred-war" strain of Muslim radicalism, including al-Qaeda and the Taliban among other groups. Cole has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the War on Terrorism and the war in Iraq. He was the recipient of the Hudson Research Professorship, in 2003, the Award for Research in Turkey, in 1999 and the Fulbright-Hays Islamic Civilization Postdoctoral Award in 1985-86.

Cole holds a B.A. degree in History and Literature of Religions from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in Arabic Studies/ History from American University in Cairo. In 1984 he completed his PhD in Islamic studies at the University of California at Los Angeles.
By Juan Cole

"The Bush administration naively believed that Iraq was a blank slate on which it could inscribe its vision for a remake of the Arab world. Iraq, however, was a witches’ brew of dynamic social and religious movements, a veritable pressure cooker. When George W. Bush invaded, he blew off the lid." Read more at Truthdig

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