"The Iraq We're Building"
FORUM l JUST AS SUCCESS IN IRAQ would resound well beyond the country's borders, its failure would mean the region's failure, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warned an audience at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum in October.
"I'm aware of the historical importance of the political transformation we are bringing about in our country and their implications for the region and the world," said Zebari, who has been Iraq's top diplomat since 2003, through four successive governments. "This transformation, in our eyes, is as important an event in the Middle East as any in the last 100 years."
"The Iraq we are building will stabilize the Middle East," he said.
Zebari urged against "precipitous withdrawal" of U.S. troops, praising their role in stabilizing the country and warning of the consequences of their premature departure.
"If we fail we may have a country torn apart by civil strife," he said. "Terrorists will have safe havens...from which they will strike other countries in the region and even farther."
"But I'm confident about the future of my country," he said. "I'm confident because of what we have achieved since the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime and because no matter how close we came to the brink, the Iraqi people have risen to the occasion."
photo: Justin Ide/Harvard News Office