As the United States experiences its own peaceful transition of power, Iraq heads toward provincial elections this week – the first of several critical touchpoints over the next year. This memo takes stock of where the US stands in Iraq and identifies key challenges going forward.
This week has seen two contrary Iraq-related developments: a troubling spate of violence that has killed more than 50 Iraqis in bombings the last two days, and an attempt by President Bush to blame the intelligence community, members of Congress, world leaders and the previous administration, for the faulty intelligence presented to justify the war.
As the country’s focus has shifted to the economy, 140,000 American troops remain in Iraq and events there are not suspended. While violence has decreased dramatically in the past year and a half, Iraqi politicians have not taken advantage of the situation to come to the political compromises necessary to bring about stability.
There is no question that Turkey must acknowledge its responsibility for the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1917. However, it is essential for leaders in the United States to appreciate the vital importance of the U.S.-Turkish relationship and not act in ways that are detrimental to our interests.