Maliki, the Iraqi Albatross

Ali Khedery is a stellar young American, a 2003 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in Government, History, and Economics and an emphasis on international law and politics.  During his senior year, he was a Fellow in Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Council on Science and Biotechnology Development.  Soon after graduation he went to work for Exxon-Mobile as a negotiator of their contracts with the Iraqi Kurds for oil exploration rights in the region, then later joined Dragoman Partners, a Middle East consulting firm.  Fluent in Arabic, he also has a history that includes quite a bit of government service in Iraq, serving there in various capacities for the bulk of the Bush administration.  From the website of Dragoman Partners:

Khedery also served as special assistant to five American ambassadors in Iraq and as senior adviser to three four-star commanders of U.S. Central Command, the authority which oversees operations in 20 nations from Egypt to Pakistan.  Khedery was the longest continuously-serving American official in Iraq; a member of the U.S. government’s Senior Executive Service; and recipient of the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Public Service, the Secretary of State’s Tribute, and the Joint Civilian Service Achievement Medal for his contributions to American national security.

All of the foregoing is prelude to my recommendation of his current piece in the Washington Post, HERE, in which he explains in detail how the Bush and Obama administration’s persistence in allying themselves with Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki has been a significant factor in how we got into the predicament in which we now find ourselves.

After helping to bring him to power in 2006, I argued in 2010 that Maliki had to go. I felt guilty lobbying against [Maliki], but this was not personal.  Vital U.S. interests were on the line.  Thousands of American and Iraqi lives had been lost and trillions of dollars had been spent to help advance our national security, not the ambitions of one man or one party.  The constitutional process had to be safeguarded, and we needed a sophisticated, unifying, economics-minded leader to rebuild Iraq after the security-focused Maliki crushed the militias and al-Qaeda.


Desperate to avert calamity, I used every bit of my political capital to arrange a meeting for Jeffrey and Antony Blinken, [Vice-President Joe] Biden’s national security adviser and senior Iraq aide, with one of Iraq’s top grand ayatollahs.  Using uncharacteristically blunt language, the Shiite cleric said he believed that Ayad Allawi, who had served as an interim prime minister in 2004-05, and Abdul Mahdi were the only Shiite leaders capable of uniting Iraq.  Maliki, he said, was the prime minister of the Dawa party, not of Iraq, and would drive the country to ruin.

I strongly recommend a read of the entire article for a better understanding of how the Iraqi deterioration has progressed.