A Conversation with H.E. Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States

On February 26, 2020, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in cooperation with the World Trade Center Washington, DC at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center hosted a public affairs briefing program “A Conversation with His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States.”

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations February 26, 2020, Public Affairs Briefing explored dynamics affecting Iraq and Iraq’s relationship with the United States.

Featured Specialist:

  • His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States of America; former Ambassador of Iraq to France.

Commentator:

  • Mr. David Des Roches, U.S. Department of Defense National Defense University Near East/South Asia Center for Strategic Studies Associate Professor; National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Senior International Affairs Fellow.

Moderator:

  • Mr. Patrick Mancino, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Executive Vice President.

A podcast recording of the program is available below and also on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere.

 

 

“A Conversation with H.E. Dr. Fareed Yasseen” podcast (.mp3)

Strategic Dynamics of Iran’s Continuing Asymmetric Warfare

On January 9, 2020, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations hosted a public affairs briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., focused on “Strategic Dynamics of Iran’s Continuing Asymmetric Warfare: What Implications for the United States and the Region?”

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations January 9, 2020, Public Affairs Briefing examined strategic dynamics related to Iranian asymmetric warfare, and their implications for the region as well as the United States.

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations January 9, 2020, Public Affairs Briefing examined strategic dynamics related to Iranian asymmetric warfare, and their implications for the region as well as the United States.

The featured specialists included:

  • Mr. David Des Roches, Senior International Affairs Fellow, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations; Associate Professor, Near East/South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University, U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Dr. Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy; Consultant to the U.S. State Department, Defense Department, and intelligence community; Former Office of the Secretary of Defense Director of Intelligence Assessment.
  • Dr. Thomas Mattair, Middle East Policy Council Executive Director; Author of The Three Occupied UAE Islands: The Tunbs and Abu Musa and Global Security Watch – Iran: A Reference Handbook.
  • Dr. John Duke Anthony, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO; Former U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy Subcommittee on Sanctions Member; only American to have been invited to each of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Ministerial and Heads of State Summits since the GCC’s inception in 1981.

A podcast recording of the program is available below along with slides from several of the speakers.

 

 

“Strategic Dynamics of Iran’s Continuing Asymmetric Warfare” podcast (.mp3)

Slides from Mr. David Des Roches – “The Iranian Way of (Near) War” (.pdf)

Slides from Dr. Anthony H. Cordesman – “The Gulf and Iran’s Capability for Asymmetric Warfare” (.pdf)

The War of 2003 & its Unintended Consequences for Iraq, the Middle East, and the United States

On July 19, 2019, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations hosted a public affairs briefing in Washington, D.C., with Dr. Zuhair Humadi exploring “The War of 2003 and its Unintended Consequences for Iraq, the Middle East, and the United States.”

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations July 19, 2019 Public Affairs Briefing featured a conversation with international education specialist Dr. Zuhair Humadi.

The featured specialist was:

  • Dr. Zuhair Humadi, International Education Specialist; Former General Director, Iraqi Education Initiative.

A podcast recording of the program is available below.

 

 

“The War of 2003 & its Unintended Consequences for Iraq, the Middle East, and the United States” podcast (.mp3)

Book Recommendations on Iraq

At a National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations July 2019 public affairs briefing with the Ambassador of Iraq to the United States, His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen, a question was asked by an attendee about what books the ambassador and other specialists present might recommend to better understand the Iraqi people and society. Though generated in an ad hoc fashion and certainly non-exhaustive, the below list of books were identified during the discussion as helpful in beginning to explore Iraq’s vibrant contemporary dynamics.

Allawi, Ali A. The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/851982045
https://www.amazon.com/Occupation-Iraq-Winning-Losing-Peace/dp/0300136145

Batatu, Hanna. The Old Social Classes & The Revolutionary Movement In Iraq: A Study of Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of its Communists, Baʻthists, and Free Officers. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/55856626
https://www.amazon.com/Social-Classes-Revolutionary-Movement-Iraq/dp/0863565204

Fernea, Elizabeth W. Guests of the Sheikh. New York: Doubleday, 1965.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1299671
https://www.amazon.com/Guests-Sheik-Ethnography-Iraqi-Village/dp/0385014856

Madaras, Edward F. Al Baghdadi: Tales Told By The Tigris. New York: Jesuit Mission Press, 1936.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1882815
https://www.amazon.com/Al-Baghdadi-tales-told-Tigris/dp/B002DIUREQ/

Makiya, Kanan. Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/38079204
https://www.amazon.com/Republic-Fear-Politics-Modern-Updated/dp/0520214390

Marr, Phebe. The Modern History of Iraq (3rd Edition). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1048757389
https://www.amazon.com/Modern-History-Iraq-Phebe-Marr/dp/0813344433

Thesiger, Wilfred. The Marsh Arabs. London: Longmans, 1964.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/2132535
https://www.amazon.com/Marsh-Arabs-Penguin-Classics/dp/0141442085

Tripp, Charles. A History of Iraq (3rd Edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/657649733
https://www.amazon.com/History-Iraq-Charles-Tripp/dp/052170247X

Tripp, Charles. Islam and the Moral Economy: The Challenge of Capitalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/254354997
https://www.amazon.com/Islam-Moral-Economy-Challenge-Capitalism/dp/0521863775

Exploring the Iraq-United States Relationship

On July 9, 2019, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations hosted a public affairs briefing in Washington, D.C., with His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen focused on “Exploring the Iraq-United States Relationship.”

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations July 9, 2019 Public Affairs Briefing featured a conversation with His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States of America.

The featured specialists were:

  • His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States of America.
  • Dr. John Duke Anthony, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO.

A podcast recording of the program is available below.

 

 

“Exploring the Iraq-United States Relationship: A Conversation with His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen” podcast (.mp3)

The 1990-1991 Kuwait Crisis Remembered: Profiles in Statesmanship

Download as PDF

For the last twenty-seven years, today has marked the anniversary of an infamous event: Iraq’s brutal invasion and subsequent occupation of Kuwait, which began on August 2, 1990, and which was brought to an end on February 28, 1991. The regional and international effects of numerous aspects of the trauma then inflicted upon Kuwait remain ongoing. Like Kuwait itself, the world, even now, has yet to fully recover.

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony was one of the first American civilians into Kuwait following its liberation. He would return there twelve times over following year with delegations of American leaders tasked with assisting in one or more facets of the war-torn country’s reconstruction. He is here with his escort observing one among over 650 of Kuwait’s oil wells set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi armed forces. Photo: National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

Over a quarter century later, important postwar facets of what Iraq did to Kuwait fall short of definitive closure. And they defy effective description. The international legal requirement that an aggressor provide prompt, adequate, and effective compensation for a war’s victims was not honored at the end of hostilities. Despite continuing United Nations-supervised efforts to collect on this inhumane debt, what is due has still not been paid.

The Missing in Action and Context

A full accounting of Kuwait’s and other countries’ missing citizens swept up and carted off to Iraq in the war’s waning hours – in the immediate aftermath of the conflict its main cause celebre – continues to remain incomplete.  The reason is not for lack of effort.  After Kuwait’s liberation, an informal and unofficial effort was mounted by George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs to provide an estimate of the MIAs’ status.

The focus group included diplomats, scholars, media representatives, American armed forces’ civil affairs personnel, and other individuals who fought to liberate Kuwait. Their unscientific consensus reported that more than 400 of the missing Kuwaitis died after they were captured. The fate of more than 200 of the missing, however, was unknown.

In the immediate hours and early days following Kuwait’s liberation, when none of the country’s electric power, desalination water purification plants, and far more of the country’s infrastructure were left operative, and domestic security prospects had been rendered uncertain, armed personnel carriers and mounted automatic weaponry units were omnipresent in the country. Photo: Dr. John Duke Anthony.

That possibly countless others remain missing is no small matter. The numbers in question, to some, may seem few. Not so, however, for those among the loved ones who tear up at the thought of them. Not so either for those who, despite the absence of grounds to warrant optimism for a fortuitous ending to their pining, and continue to wait and pray for their return.

We Americans would do well to stop and think about this for a moment. We are often criticized, and rightly so, for having an empathy deficit when it comes to understanding the suffering of people in other countries and situations. An irony in this needs to be understood and underscored. The irony is that many in the United States demand that people in other countries understand us. For those in front of an American Consular Officer with ticket in hand to visit a friend or relative in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, or wherever, but who lack such empathy along with the understanding and civility that comes with it, they need to be wished good luck in obtaining a visa to the United States.

Continue reading »

Arabia to Asia: The Myths of an American “Pivot” and Whether or Not There’s a U.S. Strategy Toward the GCC Region

Download as PDF

That the foreign policies of various governments often appear to be confusing or contradictory is because they frequently are. During Barack Obama’s presidency, such inconsistency has seemed to characterize aspects of America’s relations with the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The ambiguity and uncertainty that accompanies it is among the things that Obama has sought to dispel and clarify in the course successively of his March 2014 visit to Saudi Arabia, his May 2015 summit at Camp David with senior leaders of all six GCC countries, and his mid-April 2016 attendance at a similar meeting with leaders of the same countries. As this essay seeks to demonstrate, what he has had to contend with – and what others of late have had to contend with regarding aspects of his administration — in terms of background, context, and perspective has not been easy of resolution, amelioration, or even abatement.

Assumptions, Ambitions, and Abilities

Dating from before and since these high-level GCC-U.S. meetings, Washington has taken steps to strengthen and extend America’s overall position and influence in the GCC region. A principal means for doing so has been through the GCC-U.S. Strategic Dialogue.[1] But one example among several was when former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, came with approvals for billions of dollars in sales of U.S.-manufactured defense and security structures, systems, technology, and arms to GCC countries, together with long-term munitions and maintenance contracts.

President Barack Obama attends a U.S.-GCC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2016. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

President Barack Obama attends a U.S.-GCC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2016. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

Yet, simultaneously, signals from Washington and the mainstream U.S. media before and since Obama’s meetings with his GCC counterparts have not always been as clear as the signalers thought would or should be the case. That said, what specialists have had no doubt about for some time is that the Obama administration is recalibrating the strategic focus of its international priorities in hopes of being able to accomplish two objectives at the same time. One objective has been, and continues to be, a steadfast resolve to remain committed to the security, stability, and prospects for prosperity in the GCC region. The other has been and remains a parallel determination to emphasize the Asia-Pacific regions.

Affecting the need for such a recalibration have been major U.S. budget reductions and their impact on strategic concepts, forces, and operational dynamics. At issue and under examination in this regard, according to the Secretary of Defense in advance of the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), are, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be, America’s assumptions, ambitions, and abilities.

Understandably, the GCC region’s reaction to these trends and indications was and continues to be mixed.

Continue reading »

“Iraq-U.S. Relations: A View from Baghdad” – 24th Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

Session on Iraq-U.S. Relations: A View from Baghdad with H.E. Ambassador Lukman Faily, from the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ 24th Annual Arab-US Policymakers’ Conference, “U.S.-Arab Relations at a Crossroads: What Paths Forward?,” on October 15, 2015, in Washington, DC.

Watch on C-Span

Listen to Podcast (.mp3)

Read Transcript (.pdf)