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Media Advisory

Experts available for interviews on issues related to US handing over sovereignty in Iraq
 

28 June 2004

ATTENTION: Reporters covering the transfer of power in Iraq

Contact: Media Relations
(510) 642-3734


WHAT
The following University of California, Berkeley, experts are available for interviews on issues related to a United States-led coalition handing over sovereignty in Iraq this week to an interim Iraqi government.

WHO
IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST PERSPECTIVE

Nezar Alsayyad
Chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, professor of architecture and planning
Phone: (510) 642-8208

Alsayyad sees little reason for optimism. He says the most important point about the transfer of power is that it is not perceived anywhere in Iraq or the Arab world as a true transfer, but as a new form of American colonialism.

Amy Gurowitz
Lecturer in political science and peace and conflict studies
Phone: (510) 642-4691
E-mail: gurowitz@berkeley.edu

Gurowitz says that because the transfer leaves security control in the hands of the United States, the Arab world does not perceive it as a true handover. If security becomes so precarious that the Iraqi government cannot begin to govern at all, she said, the presence of U.S. troops will be both increasingly necessary for order and increasingly called into question.

Saba Mahmood
Assistant professor of social cultural anthropology
Phone: (510) 642-3565
E-mail: smahmood@sscl.berkeley.edu

Mahmood questions whether Iraq's interim government is up to the monumental challenges facing the country. She is also skeptical of the United States' willingness to transfer power to a popularly elected Iraqi government, particularly if it is dominated by Shiite clerics. The outcome of democracy is unpredictable, Mahmood says, and it remains unclear if the United States will accept results of an election that compromises U.S. control of the region.

She also questions the true effectiveness of Iraqi women's participation in a new government when, she says, basic economic, social and security conditions are such that women cannot pursue even some of the basic chores of daily life.

NOTE: Mahmood is a native of Pakistan. She spent two years working on the Islamist movement in Egypt with a particular focus on women's participation in Islamist cultural politics. She is the author of a forthcoming book, "The Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject."

FOREIGN POLICY IMPLICATIONS

Michael Nacht
Aaron Wildavsky Dean of Goldman School of Public Policy, professor of public policy
Phone: (510) 643-4038
E-mail: mnacht@socrates.berkeley.edu

Nacht says the ramping up of attacks on government officials and oil pipelines by Iraqi insurgents in the weeks before June 30 have effectively undercut the chances of a successful transfer. What's needed, he says, is help from the United Nations and the "Iraqification" of the military, where Iraqis fully assume security responsibilities.

Also, he says, the risks are high of Iraq electing an anti-American government, and that President Bush has so soured relations that international leaders are declining to offer military support because they don't want to assist his possible re-election.

NOTE: Nacht is chair of the counter proliferation panel of the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee of the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Steven Weber
Professor of political science
Phone: (510) 928-0657

Weber can discuss the meaning of sovereignty, what the implications are for U.S. foreign and military policy, and the stakes for the Bush Administration and the campaign. He can also address reactions from foreign governments, particularly U.S. allies and international organizations.

He says the visible installation of Iraqi spokespeople for the provisional government is an important symbol. He can also comment on the possibilities and implications of escalating violence, of Kurdish secession and of an accommodation between the Iraqi government and Tehran.

NOTE: For more on Weber's views on the transfer of governance, see an interview at http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/06/14_weber.shtml

IMPACT ON AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION

Henry Brady
Director of UC Berkeley's Survey Research Center, professor of political science
Phone: (510) 642-3008
E-mail: hbrady@csm.berkeley.edu

Brady can discuss the following questions: To what extent will the handover seem to be real, given that American troops will remain and be in harm's way? To what extent will it seem like the United States has accomplished its goal as it hands over power? Will the new Iraqi government appear democratic?

Douglas Strand
Director of UC Berkeley's Public Agendas and Citizen Engagement Survey (PACES)
Phone: (510) 642-0508
E-mail: dstrand@csm.berkeley.edu

Strand can discuss the transfer with respect to American public opinion and the U.S. presidential election. He can provide recent, original survey data on how events in Iraq are affecting voters, noting that problems in Iraq have been a significant source of negative evaluations of the Bush presidency. He says that if the transfer results in these problems being much more likely perceived as Iraqi troubles and much more removed from troubling U.S. forces and civilians, then Bush could gain some ground on job approval and in his competition with John Kerry. However, if the troubles appear to be leading to a civil war, he says, then Bush would likely lose ground again.

INVESTOR AND BUSINESS IMPACTS

Tom Campbell
Bank of America Dean of the Haas School of Business
Phone: (510) 643-2027
E-mail: campbell@haas.berkeley.edu

Campbell says the U.S. transfer of power makes such disruptive acts as oil field sabotage and destruction less likely to occur and, if they do happen, less damaging to consumer and investor optimism.

NOTE: Campbell, an economist and a lawyer, also was a five-time Republican congressman for the Silicon Valley, serving on the International Relations Committee.

REBUILDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE IN IRAQ

David Dowall
Director of the Institute of Urban Research & Development, professor of city and regional planning
Phone: (510) 642-6579
E-mail: dowall@berkeley.edu

Dowall can talk about rebuilding and financing the renewal of Iraq's infrastructure. His expertise is in infrastructure services, planning and finance, and economic development. He's done research in Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

DETAILS
This experts list also will appear online at the UC Berkeley NewsCenter at http://www.berkeley.edu/news/extras/index.html. At the same address, you'll find many other experts lists and a brand new guide to selected faculty experts.