Fletcher in the News

As Long as Syria is at War, Iraq has a Problem: GlobalPost Speaks with Senior Statesman Dr. Rubaie

GlobalPost

Dr. Mowaffak al-Rubaie is polished in manner and immaculate in appearance. Watching him make his way around The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he was recently named a Senior Statesman in Residence, it’s hard to imagine him back in the ‘70s, when as an activist he was first tortured by Iraq’s Ba’ath government and then sentenced to death in absentia.

Like other individuals who have functioned as informal interpreters of post-Saddam Iraq for a Western audience, al-Rubaie spent many years outside of his home country, returning after Hussein’s fall. Coming from a medical background, he served first on the Iraqi Governing Council, and then as national security advisor to three successive governments: the Iraqi interim government, the Iraqi transitional government, and the Shiite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki…

…If not a disinterested analyst — his name will be on the ballot for Iraq’s Council of Representatives on April 30 — al-Rubaie is certainly frank. GlobalPost sat down with him last week to talk about some of the top questions currently confronting Iraq: the fall of Fallujah, the coming elections, the need to resolve the war in Syria, and the tension between state strength and human rights. Here were his opinions...

...GlobalPost: We’re coming up on the eleventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq this month and the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the withdrawal in June. How’s the Iraq war looking from this distance?

Dr. Mowaffak al-Rubaie: The original plan was noble: to overthrow a ruthless beast who had committed many crimes, including using chemical weapons against his own people. But what happened after the 9th of April 2003, that was another crime. I call it gross negligence.

The whole country was run by this man very centrally for 35 years. All Iraqis were dependent on this guy. Now you remove this guy and people did not know what to do. So the country was left in a total vacuum. No government, no economy, no food, nothing. No salaries for the millions of government employees.

Now how come this very sophisticated, very complicated country is left like this?

And what is bothering me, I’ll tell you, is that no investigation has been carried out to at least try to avoid this in the future in another country.

Read the full interview

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