As part of TPM’s ongoing events series, we co-hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday with the New America Foundation in Washington featuring Michael Corbin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs for Iraq issues.
With an end-of-the-year deadline for withdrawal of American troops looming — and talks underway between the U.S. and Iraqi governments to negotiate a new security agreement that could very well see U.S. troops remaining beyond the deadline in some capacity — Corbin addressed a small gathering of journalists and policy experts brought together by TPM.
Moderated by TPM Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons, the discussion focused on the challenges facing Iraq’s fragile coalition government, chief among them endemic corruption. But external events — namely the changes sweeping the region in this Arab Spring — have come at the same time that Iraq was taking steps to define a new role for itself in the Middle East. Iraq was scheduled to host the Arab League meeting in May but that meeting has been postponed amid political tumult in the region that has further exposed the Sunni-Shia divide.
Joining in the TPM-hosted discussion with Corbin were, among others, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Jonathan Landay of McClatchy, Walter Pincus and Sally Quinn of the Washington Post, and Michael Gordon of the New York Times.