Iraq’s Political Compact and Its Regional Priorities | Tuesday, October 17 | 12:00 – 4:30 pm | Middle East Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (event held at SAIS) | Register Here | The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Foreign Policy Institute and Conflict Management Program are pleased to present a two-panel symposium bringing together analysts, diplomats, and policymakers to discuss the domestic and regional challenges facing Iraq. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph S. Pennington will provide keynote remarks. The first panel, titled “Status of and Challenges to Iraq’s Political Compact” will feature Rasha Al Aqeedi of Al Mesbar Studies, Abbas Kadhim of the Institute of Shia Studies, Bilal Wahab of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and moderator Randa Slim of the Middle East Institute. The second panel, “Iraq’s Regional Opportunities: Perspectives from Iraq’s neighbors,” will include Lisel Hintz of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Indiana University, Seyed Hossein Mousavian of Princeton University, and the ambassador of Iraq to the United States Fareed Yasseen. The panel will be moderated by Daniel Serwer of the Middle East Institute.
The KRG Independence Referendum and Regional Realities | Wednesday, October 18 | 3:00 – 5:00 pm | Turkish Heritage Organization (held at National Press Club) | Register Here | THO’s panel will bring together former ambassadors along with Turkmen member of Iraq’s parliament to discuss KRG’s controversial referendum and its regional outcomes. Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) controversial decision to go ahead with a referendum on independence from Iraq on September 25 created significant concerns not only for Iraq but also for the neighboring countries. Despite having close diplomatic and economic ties with KRG, Turkey made it very clear that the referendum would only fuel the existing instability and volatility in the region. Echoing these concerns, the U.S. also displayed strong opposition, particularly to the timing of the referendum, and worked its diplomatic channels to dissuade the KRG. The result of the referendum showed that the majority in the Kurdistan Region is in favor of independence. As the KRG leadership gets ready to negotiate an amicable split from Iraq, Turkey and Iran have already started taking various steps in cooperation with Iraq that are aimed at isolating the KRG. With parliamentary and presidential elections less than a month away, it is unclear whether the KRG will take these regional developments and realities into consideration. This event will feature Lukman Faily, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, James Jefferey of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Arshad Al-Salihi, Iraqi Turkmen Front Leader and Member of Iraq Parliament.
Achieving Growth in Contexts of Great Challenge: The Iraqi Private Banking Sector | Wednesday, October 18 | 10:00 – 11:30 am | Center for Strategic and International Studies | Register Here | A functioning formal private sector is critical for the reconstruction and renewal of post-conflict states. A formal banking sector is critical to a formal private sector and for achieving economic diversification. Banks are at the forefront of reconstruction initiatives in post-conflict Iraq—lending billions of dollars, making mortgages more accessible, and providing commercial credit. However, many challenges remain. Iraqi private banks are a case study in sustaining economic growth in a post-conflict context—one that can offer insights and lessons. Bank deposits and available capital from private banks in Iraq have more than doubled in the last five years. Even in a post-conflict environment, Iraqi banks must respond to “Basel III,” a set of global financial regulations that make lending more difficult. The banking system is also responding to global changes in technology and the management and utilization of new forms of data. Official donors such as the United States, as well as multilateral donors such as the World Bank, support the formal private banking sector in post-conflict settings. Panelists include Dennis Flannery of Citibank, John Sullivan of the Financial Integrity Network, Mazin Sabah of the Central Bank of Iraq, former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Burundi Dawn Liberi, Denise Natali of the Institute for National Strategic Studies, and Abdulhameed Al Saeed of the Iraqi Private Banks League.
Wartime Economies in the Middle East: A Look into Libya, Syria, and Iraq | Thursday, October 19 | 1:30 – 3:30 | Middle East Institute | Register Here | The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host Chatham House experts Tim Eaton, Lina Khatib, and Renad Mansour for a discussion on the collapse of central authority and its economic impacts across states in the Middle East and North Africa, moderated by MEI’s senior vice president for policy analysis, research, and programs, Paul Salem. In Syria, conflict has paved the way for illicit groups and new elites to control territory and generate revenue. In Libya, armed groups have captured state resources and infrastructure, developing lucrative funding streams. In Iraq, a well-established shadow economy continues to enable groups such as ISIS to safeguard their amassed resources. Such developments present significant challenges for the reassertion of state authority and are likely to have a lasting impact on the political economy of the states in question. This panel will explore the development of the war economies of Syria, Libya, and Iraq, examine the commonalities and differences in the three cases, and discuss the challenges of combating the economic power of armed insurgents.
The North Korean Challenge and International Response | Thursday, October 19 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm | Heritage Foundation | Register Here | North Korea is an existential threat to South Korea and is developing a nuclear ICBM to threaten the American homeland. Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs are violations of UN resolutions and in defiance of the international community. The regime and its foreign facilitators continue to violate U.S. laws by misusing the U.S. financial system. The United States and South Korea are leading the international effort to curtail Kim Jong-un’s growing nuclear and missile threat through a combination of pressure, sanctions, attempts at engagement, and information operations. Washington and its allies must also ensure they have sufficient defenses against the spectrum of North Korean military threats. Join us for a discussion by U.S. and South Korean experts who will discuss the need for stronger bilateral relations in times of turmoil, the foreign policy of the South Korean Moon Jae-in Administration, and the policy options for sanctions and financial pressure. Panelists include Elizabeth Rosenberg of the Center for New American Security, Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Dr. Kim Young-Joon of the Institute for National Security Strategy, and Dr. Lee Hochul of Incheon National University.