Former Iraqi ambassor and IU professor discusses situation in Iraq

BLOOMINGTON (WISH) —  People across the world are monitoring the rapidly-evolving situation in Iraq closely, including an Indiana University professor, who is a former Iraqi ambassador.

24-Hour News 8 sat down with Feisal Istrabadi, the Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East at Indiana University.

Istrabadi says he was born in the United States, after his parents fled Iraq in the late ‘50’s, when the Iraqui monarchy was overthrown. They then moved back to Iraq until Istrabadi was nearly eight, when they fled back to Bloomington again.

Istrabadi was one of the main authors of Iraq’s interim constitution in 2004, and he served as Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations from 2004-2007.

To see what’s happening right now, he says, “It’s very painful to watch. The country seems to be falling apart, literally at the seams.”

He says this crisis, is more concerning than ever.

“The difference between now and prior crises is, events are moving. Truly moving. Far beyond the control of anybody in the Iraqui political class to control,” said Istrabadi. “I fear, if the country falls apart, it is more likely to end up looking like Somalia, rather than split up like Yugoslavia.”

“This is a recipe for real disaster, not only for Iraq but for Europe, and for US policy in the region. Those are the stakes right now.”

He says he believes Iraq needs a leader now, who will be able to reach those other groups who’ve aligned with militants.

“Unless there is a willingness to make a political solution, there is no solution, and Iraq will fragment.”

As far as how the crisis in Iraq will immediately affect us here at home, he adds oil, is a national interest of the United States.

“Disturbances in the Middle East, hit every citizen in the state of Indiana, and every citizen in the United States, directly in their pocketbook,” he explained.

The militants known as “Isis” continue to advance across the country. Their goal is to set up a strict Islamic state that extends from Syria to a large portion of Iraq.

“If we don’t make an affirmative decision, ‘Yes we do want to be part of the same country,’ we are spinning out of control into dismemberment and chaos,” said Istrabadi. “We have days and weeks, not months, to make a decision.”

Wednesday, President Obama will meet with top congressional leaders. They’ll be weighing how involved the US should get with the crisis in Iraq.

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