enhancing understanding of iraq through programs, research and advocacy

There’s more in Iraq than just oil

This morning, a Bloomberg Businessweek article proudly proclaimed “Iraq Oil Output Beating Iran Ends Saddam Legacy.” I agree with Bloomberg that this is an important milestone for the country, one which will generate life saving revenue for development and rebuilding. However, I believe there are two problems with this statement: first, Bloomberg is mistaken in thinking that as complicated a subject as the legacy of Saddam Hussein lies in oil production. The root of Saddam’s legacy actually resides in the violence that exists in the Iraqi political culture. Second, Saddam’s legacy has not, in fact, been eradicated.

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Advancing Democracy in Iraq

If you are like me and you grew up in a democratic society, it can be easy to take democracy and all its trappings for granted. But recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what “democracy” means as a concept, a practice, and a system of government. In particular, what does it take for a democratic society to function and be sustained? And how does a traditional tribal society (from which, in human history, we have all come) or populations overcoming dictatorship make the transition to democracy? Iraq’s movement towards democracy has been difficult to dissect. Iraq is a resource-rich,

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World Press Freedom Day

Every morning, as I fight off my lingering urge to return to bed, I surround myself by the news. On my phone, on the radio, on TV. Maybe it’s because I live in a city where politics is our bread and butter – or maybe water and oxygen make a better analogy. Maybe I just like feeling “plugged in.” Then again, maybe I’m being too hard on myself – millions all over the world probably did the same thing during their mornings, or something similar. I’ve got a great deal of respect for journalists – I probably wouldn’t be able

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NGO Letter to President Obama

Over 40 U.S.-based Organizations Applaud President Obama’s Promise to Help Iraqis Impacted by the War in Iraq Groups Call for a Comprehensive Humanitarian, Development and Refugee Resettlement Strategy led by Civilian Agencies For Immediate Release – Contact: Erik Gustafson at EPIC 202-682-0208 March 4, 2009 (Washington, DC) – Writing to President Barack Obama in response to his new Iraq strategy, more than 40 leading U.S.-based organizations praise the President’s promise to help vulnerable Iraqis and call for a comprehensive humanitarian, development and refugee resettlement strategy led by civilian agencies. The letter’s recommendations reflect broad consensus among aid agencies working inside

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