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  • Writer's pictureIbrahim Insights

Transitional Justice: U.S. in the Middle East, Iraq

In Jordan, we met with intellectuals from the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies and the Center Jordanian Democracy. The Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies was founded in 2005 when the international community became heavily involved in Iraq. They talked to us about a broad range of issues, including international involvement with Iraq as well as Jordanian politics.

It was explained that Iraq should not be looked at as suspicious but instead viewed as a nation that has contributed to society. They used the phrase “never again” to describe the fact that the U.S. or the international community will never again destroy Iraq. The center was built around the fact that they could not allow this to happen after 2005.

Even though he felt strongly about the fact that the U.S. was detrimental to Iraq, he also believed that Iraq should be rebuilt through the international community. The term “transitional justice” was used to talk about the fact that the U.S. should help re-build Iraq since they were a major player in its destruction.

This statement confused me. He blamed the U.S. for the downturn of Iraq, and yet he wanted the U.S. to come rebuild it. He also did not have a concrete plan of what he wanted the U.S. to do in regards to Iraq. Additionally, he mentioned that the U.S. alone is responsible to help as opposed to the rest of the international community.

Even though his words bewildered me, they allowed me to think of the United States’ role internationally. Is it really the United States’ job to rebuild Iraq? If so, what does that mean for their responsibility to the world? As we face the crisis in Syria, many complain that the U.S. is not doing enough to help the destruction that is happening there. Should the U.S. involve itself in another conflict that they might lead to unintentional negative effects?

Sophia Adler is a member of the 2016 Ibrahim cohort.

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