Patel: 'I'm Bullish on Iraq' - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-19-2004, 11:50 PM   #1
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Patel: 'I'm Bullish on Iraq'

"David S. Patel, a doctoral candidate at Stanford University who spent seven months in Iraq, mostly in Shiite areas in the south, says the country will overcome its difficulties and emerge from the current upheaval a unified state. "I'm bullish on Iraq," he says. "I think the country can definitely stick together, and I think it will. I was surprised at the degree of Iraqi nationalism." He cautions that "there are going to be some very large speed bumps between June 30," when sovereignty is returned to the Iraqis, and the national elections scheduled for January 2005. Still, he expects that the uprising led by Muqtada al-Sadr will be put down and that the rebellious cleric will be sent into exile. And, although Iraqis are not yet up to providing their own security, he says they are in charge of most government ministries."

"Patel, who recently wrote an article about Iraqi politics in Arab Reform Bulletin, was interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman, consulting editor for, on May 18, 2004."

"Are Iraqis happy with the idea of the United States remaining as a security force, or do they want the United States to leave?"

"Most Iraqis, even though they have been frustrated at the slow pace of progress and the slow process of reconstruction, realize that a continued American presence is necessary for the short to medium term to maintain stability. That's what all Iraqis want. Most Iraqis aren't that interested in the political process. They want some sort of stability. Most Iraqis haven't been able to consume any foreign goods since 1991. On the street now, the economy is booming. People with disposable income are buying cell phones, satellite dishes, microwaves, air conditioners, food processors, used cars. This is what Iraqis want: they want some sort of government to provide them stability where they are able to reintegrate themselves into the world, be able to travel, enjoy what they haven't had since 1991 [when economic sanctions were imposed], if not earlier."
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