Iraq's Upcoming Elections: Likely Outcomes and Impact on US-Iraqi Relations

April 25, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th St. NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC
Iraq's Upcoming Elections: Likely Outcomes, Key Issues, and Impact on US-Iraqi Relations
A conversation with:

Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi
Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Middle East
Indiana University – Bloomington
Ambassador Rend al-Rahim
Co-Founder and President
Iraq Foundation
Dr. Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Atlantic Council
Ambassador Ryan Crocker
Visiting Lecturer and Diplomat-in-Residence
Princeton University
Introduced by:
Frederick Kempe
President and CEO
Atlantic Council
Moderated by:
Ms. Vivian Salama
Political Reporter
NBC News

Please join the Atlantic Council for a conversation with a panel of experts to discuss Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary election, post-election dynamics, alliances to form a new government we may see emerge, what political and constitutional reforms the next government needs to adopt, and how the election may impact US-Iraq relations.

On Twitter? Follow @ACMideast and use #ACIraq


Ambassador Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi is the founding director of the Indiana University Center for the Study of the Middle East, a Title VI National Resource Center. He is also professor of the practice of international law and diplomacy in the Maurer School of Law and the School of Global and International Studies. He focuses his research on constitutional issues, problems in engendering rule-of-law institutions, and post-conflict justice issues in the Middle East. He also publishes on regional security issues. Ambassador al-Istrabadi is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A double alumnus of Indiana University, al-Istrabadi was appointed ambassador and deputy permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations in 2004 and served in the office of the minister for foreign affairs from 2010 to 2012. Ambassador Al-Istrabadi was principal legal drafter of the Iraqi interim constitution of 2004.

Ambassador Rend Al-Rahim is a former Iraqi ambassador to the United States, served as a senior fellow for Iraq for the US Institute for Peace, and is the co-founder and president of the Iraq Foundation. In 1991, she established the Iraq Foundation in Washington, DC, to lobby for democracy, human rights and regime change in Iraq. She holds a master’s degree in English from Cambridge University.
Dr. Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He is also a fellow at the Center of Religious Studies at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. He holds a PhD in political science from Sant'Anna School for Advanced Studies in Italy, an MA in political communication from Leeds University, and an MA in political science from Baghdad University. He was formerly a lecturer and teaching assistant at Baghdad University, and a fellow at Harvard University and Brandeis University. His research focuses on state-society relations, political transitions, and identity politics in Iraq and the Middle East. He has written extensively for various English and Arabic publications and journals and is currently writing a book on Shi’a, Religious Authority and State in post-Saddam Iraq. He was a member of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iraq Task Force and the CEU research team studying state, religion, and disintegration in the Middle East.  
Ambassador Ryan Crocker is currently a visiting lecturer and diplomat-in-residence at Princeton University. He was a career ambassador within the US Foreign Service. Ambassador Crocker was in the Foreign Service for 37 years and, after retiring, was recalled to active duty by President Obama in 2011 to serve as US Ambassador to Afghanistan. His previous appointments included service as the US Ambassador to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Crocker became dean of Texas A&M University’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service in 2010. Crocker has received many of the nation’s highest honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the State Department Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the State Department Distinguished Honor Award, The Award for Valor, three Superior Honor Awards and the American Foreign Service Association’s Rivkin Award. When he stepped down as Ambassador in Kabul in 2012, Crocker was named an Honorary Marine by the United States Marine Corps.

Mr. Frederick Kempe is the president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council. Before joining the Council, Kempe was a prize-winning editor and reporter at the Wall Street Journal for more than twenty-five years. In New York, he served as assistant managing editor, International, and columnist. Prior to that, he was the longest-serving editor and associate publisher ever of the Wall Street Journal Europe, running the global Wall Street Journal's editorial operations in Europe and the Middle East. In 2002, The European Voice, a leading publication following EU affairs, selected Kempe as one of the fifty most influential Europeans, and as one of the four leading journalists in Europe. At the Wall Street Journal, he served as a roving correspondent based out of London; as a Vienna Bureau chief covering Eastern Europe and East-West Affairs; as chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, DC; and as the paper's first Berlin Bureau chief following the unification of Germany and collapse of the Soviet Union. He is the author of four books. The most recent, Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth, was a New York Times Best Seller and a National Best Seller. Published in 2011, it has subsequently been translated into thirteen different languages. Kempe is a graduate of the University of Utah and has a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a member of the International Fellows program in the School of International Affairs. He won the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's top alumni achievement award and the University of Utah's Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Ms. Vivian Salama is a reporter for NBC News. She was formerly White House reporter for the Associated Press (AP), with a focus on foreign policy and national security. Salama moved to Washington after serving as the AP's Iraq bureau chief. Her previous posts include the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories. She has spent more than 12 years reporting abroad, covering major news events on five continents, mostly in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. She was a contributing writer to the 2013 book Radicalization, Terrorism and Conflict. She holds a BA from Rutgers University in journalism and an MA in Islamic politics from Columbia University.