[QODLink]
Inside Story Americas
Are there any winners in the Iraq war?
As the US prepares to pull out the last of its troops, our guests discuss the future of US-Iraqi relations.
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2011 12:38

Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, is visiting Washington to discuss the next phase in US-Iraqi relations as, after nearly nine years of war, the US prepares to pull the last of its troops out of the country.

While Iraq is now a democracy, security remains fragile and Major General Jeffrey Buchanan, the chief spokesman for US forces in Iraq, has warned that the country "remains a dangerous place" where al-Qaeda could experience a resurgence.

"We do have an interest but we don't have the ability to, ourselves, map out Iraq's future. This is a democracy. You may not like it, you may not like what the democratic process gives you, but it is a democracy."

- Richard Armitage, the US deputy secretary of state at the time of the Iraq invasion

The recent visit of Joe Biden, the US vice president, to Iraq to mark what he called "the end of an era" was met with protests.

Meanwhile the US and Iraqi governments have several issues pertaining to their future relationship to resolve. First among these is what role the 16,000 US personnel, including a number of contractors and diplomats, remaining in Iraq will play. And then there is the matter of the big oil firms, some of which have already angered Baghdad by cutting controversial deals in the north of the country. It is thought that the Iraqi government may want Washington to mediate in these matters.

And in a shifting Middle East, the US needs Iraq as a strong ally. Al-Maliki, though, also has close ties with Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

On this episode of Inside Story Americas we interview Richard Armitage, the second highest ranking state department official during the Iraq invasion, about the level of US influence in the country and then host a discussion about what role the US should play in the new Iraq with guests: Hillary Mann Leverett, a former White House official; Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi political analyst; and Mark Kimmit, a former US military spokesman.

"[Iraq] is in a much better situation than it was as recently as five years ago. It is a democracy; it is at peace with its neighbours."

Mark Kimmit, a former US military spokesman

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.