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Former US Diplomat Calls Iraq Situation Extremely Dangerous

The Middle East affairs expert says the violence will likely escalate.

Edward Djerejian is the former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and is the founding director of the Baker Institute at Rice University. He served in various policy and diplomatic positions in eight presidential administrations. He says one thing that makes the current situation in Iraq so difficult is that the Sunni/Shiite conflict dates back to WWI when the British defined new borders in Iraq.

“These borders that were artificially created by the colonial powers cut through various ethnic and sectarian lines,” Djerejian said.

Djerejian says the inability of the central government to maintain control over its territory is at the heart of this crisis. He says the U.S. has already spent too much blood and treasure trying to bring stability to Iraq.

“As Americans we have to ask ourselves the question ‘what was it for?’ Certainly, if this was to be nation-building, it looks like a complete disaster,” Djerejian said.

Djerejian was not in favor of going to war in Iraq in 2003 and says the current situation also has implications for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

“Going to war to change a regime in the Middle East and to nation-build, I think has proven to be a bridge too far for any county, including the United States, to accomplish,” Djerejian said.

Nation-building, Djerejian says, cannot be accomplished beyond what the local people and political factions want to do themselves.

Listen to the full interview:

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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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