What Went Wrong in Iraq: The Khedery Version

Intriguingly, though, Khedery does not specify any single juncture or decisive event that made him change his mind about Maliki so radically. There is, however, a crucial little detail in his biography in the introduction that cannot and should not escape notice. Today, Khedery is “chairman and chief executive of the Dubai-based Dragoman Partners… In 2011, as an Executive with Exxon-Mobil, he negotiated the company’s entry into the Kurdistan Region of Iraq”.

Now, that was quick: Khedery’s embrace of some of the most separatist forces among the Iraqi Kurds apparently materialized only months after his own resignation from US government service in Iraq in December 2010. A bit Kurdish  separatism, courting the Shiite clergy in Najaf, promoting secularists cum Islamists: Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised since Khedery already told us that the 11 September 2001 terror attacks played a key role in making him enlist for government service in Iraq, which in actual fact had nothing to do with those attacks?

The alternation between (and sometimes combination of) support for the Iraqi central government and Kurdish separatism is of course nothing new in American approaches to Iraq. In the current political crisis, one can certainly get the impression that Washington is arming all sides at the same time: Nujayfi and Barzani feel boldened by frequent telephone calls from VP Biden, whereas Maliki undeniably gets empowered by US military assistance, regardless of exactly what the packaging says.

Exactly like Khedery, the Obama administration  employs a contradictive approach to Iraq based on unhelpful caricatures of the key Iraqi players. Until the underlying methodological issues here are sorted out, these contradictions are likely to persist, with unsatisfactory results accompanying any attempt by the United States to exercise political influence in Iraq.

3 Responses to What Went Wrong in Iraq: The Khedery Version

  1. Whistle blower 7th July 2014 at 15:16 #

    Why not publishing the Khedery article from New York Times instead of commenting the article? Once the article from the New York Times is published then everybody can comment on what he is saying.

    Otherwise, the risk for media manipulation is too obvious

  2. Editor 7th July 2014 at 15:35 #

    @Whistle blower: a link to the article refered to in the Washington Post (not NY Times) has been added.

    We have not have rights to re-publish it.

    – Editor.

  3. Kamil Mahdi 11th July 2014 at 15:43 #

    I sent this letter to the Washington Post but it was not published:

    Dear Letters’ Editor,

    Ali Khedery, “Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq”, July 3rd, does not as he claims inform us why the US stuck with Maliki, only who said what. He presents a picture only of conjecture and short-term political considerations. If this were the case, there would not have been an invasion in the first place.

    The writer had served the US occupation project for ten years and admits to having brokered the Exxon-KRG oil deal which undermines the integrity of Iraq. Yet, what he finds wrong with US policy was its support for Maliki in 2010, not the occupation. There is no mention of any of the major US decisions undermining the state and paralysing it, and none of Negroponte and the Salvador Option, of the training of torture and murder teams, of the brute force of the US military and mercenaries, and no mention of a flawed constitution and policies driving a wedge between Iraqis.

    It is a picture of US innocence, and of Iraqi violence, mistrust and proclivity to dictatorship, symbolised by Maliki; a picture that satisfies an innate imperial urge to blame the native. Khedery even says Maliki destroyed the Iraqi state, implying that the US had built and sustained it. We are invited to believe that Bush invaded Iraq for freedom and democracy, and that the Biden plan was a mere passing thought, not a reality unfolding before us on a sea of blood with oil interests well protected.

    Iraqis now find their country a playground for external powers, and themselves sandwiched between a corrupt, sectarian and repressive government, and an opposition that is in collusion with a barbarian gang. But Iraqis are also aware that their current suffering is a legacy of the US invasion and occupation, and US intervention is no more welcome now than it was before.

    Dr Kamil Mahdi