Contact: Bill Caldwell, Office of Public Information, Pace University, 212-346-1597, email@example.com
August 21, 2007
Topic: General Petraeus’s September status report
to Congress on Iraq policy
Pace University expert foresees “large wave of democracy” in Middle East in next 10 to 15 years
Michael Izady, PhD, history professor at Pace University in New York, is an expert on the Middle East who helps train and brief Special Forces troops and others in the U.S. military here and overseas on ethnic and social issues. In the past year, he has seen the training of the Iraqi police and military first-hand.
Izady’s views on Iraq’s police and security forces, likely intervention by neighbors, long-term U.S. presence, and counter-terrorism:
• The Iraqi army, police and security forces “are ineffective because they have been trained like a Western army: to use violence as the last and not the first resort. In a non-civil society where people have been treated as subjects and not citizens for generations, such a civility on the part of the law enforcement authorities leads invariably to vast increase in violence, political and criminal. We are creating a very respectable and respectful Western-style police and military because we intend to bring democracy. It is not the killing machine that Iraq used to have. But the population is used to that killing machine.”
• There will be no overt intervention in Iraq by its neighbors once the U.S. leaves the country. “The United States will still be in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, and the neighboring countries are well aware of the power the U.S. can wield if need be. Iraq’s neighbors will intervene covertly, however, but except for some border crossing by the Turks to punish the Kurds, there will be no invasion of Iraq or open interference in that country by the neighboring states. U.S. troops can safely be withdrawn to new positions ‘just over the horizon’ in Kuwait, Qatar or Bahrain and still maintain a protective role for the fledgling democratic government of Iraq. This can easily protect Iraq from its neighbors, and to a great degree, the Iraqi people from the emergence of another dictatorial government in Baghdad itself.”
• The U.S. leaving the country completely and unsupervised would “probably create a dictatorship of the Shia majority in Iraq and the strong possibility of a breakup of the Iraqi state along its ethnic seams. Conversely, a tactical redeployment to ‘just over the horizon’ and the maintenance of close surveillance of the Iraqi political elite and affairs can largely achieve the domestic American demand for a withdrawal without chancing throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The British awarded Iraq its independence in 1932, then withdrew to Habbania— a one-hour drive west of Baghdad, i.e., just over the horizon in those days — where they kept an eagle eye on the government they had helped to create. It worked well until 1958 when the British lost that ability. The country immediately saw a military takeover and the end of its fledgling democracy. We should learn much from this.”
In an online chat with USATODAY.com in 2004, Izady said “Iraq should be administered as Germany, Japan and Italy have been since 1945, i.e., America has remained on their soil despite the fact that independent democratic governments were formed and are functioning in those countries. There has never been a complete and total American withdrawal from Germany, Japan or Italy.” http://cgi1.usatoday.com/mchat/20040210004/tscript.htm
• In the next 10 to 15 years, we will see a “large wave of democracy” in the Middle East. “The United States is committed to a long-term policy of bringing democracy and free markets to the planet piece-by-piece, portion by portion. We have no choice. Either everybody will have more social justice and affluence, or we will continue to live a life of terror for the foreseeable future. The global village can no longer sustain a barricaded and peaceful rich within a sea of poverty and turmoil. Only the United States has the human, political, military and economic resources to achieve this. Left to its own devices, the world gets worse through small and big wars, genocides, starvation and environmental degradation. It would have been great if the UN had the instrument or the unity to do these. But, at present and in the foreseeable future, it is the U.S. that has this ability and in fact responsibility to nudge the world toward a more equitable and prosperous future.”
Izady is the author of books including The Kurds: A Concise Handbook (1992); The Sharafnâma (2005), and Yazdanism: Mystery Religions and Mythology of the Zagrotian Peoples (1997). He is the author of five field guidebooks on Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Levant, and Islam & Insurgency used by members of the U.S. Armed Forces deployed overseas. He received his college education in the U.S., finishing his doctorate in Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University in 1992. He has taught at Harvard, the Smithsonian Institution, Uppsala University in Sweden, the Free University of Berlin, and Pace University (2001-present).
Izady has appeared on National Public Radio, PBS, ABC Nightline, Fox, Discovery Channel, and History Channel.
Izady travels frequently and is not always available. Media should try reaching him at firstname.lastname@example.org and 212-362-6188. See website, www.pace.edu .