June 5, 2007
Contact:
Leah Yoon, NPR
 | 

RYAN CROCKER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ
DISCUSSES IRAQ’S PARLIAMENTARY CALENDAR AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF
ENDING THE U.S. ENGAGEMENT IN IRAQ

TELLS NPR NEWS “THINGS COULD GET VERY MUCH WORSE IF WE
DON’T MAINTAIN AN EFFECTIVE ENGAGEMENT HERE”

ON NPR NEWS MORNING EDITION
TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2007


TRANSCRIBED EXCERPTS BELOW; AUDIO AVAILABLE WEDNESDAY MORNING AT WWW.NPR.ORG


June 5, 2007; Washington, DC – Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq tells NPR News “My experience of three-and-a-half decades in this part of the world suggests to me that things could get very much worse if we don’t maintain an effective engagement here,” when asked about his estimate on how long the U.S. forces will be in Iraq. In this wide-ranging interview on the war in Iraq with Renee Montagne, airing tomorrow on NPR News’ Morning Edition, Ambassador Crocker discusses Iraq’s parliamentary calendar and the consequences of ending the U.S. engagement in Iraq.

Transcribed excerpts of the interview are below. All excerpts must be credited to NPR News’ Morning Edition. The interview airs tomorrow morning, Wednesday, June 6. Local station’s air time of the program is available at www.npr.org/stations. Audio of the interview will be available at www.npr.org

On the Iraq parliament’s effectiveness given the two month recess in their calendar:

“We discussed the parliamentary calendar, both with the executive branch – Prime Minister Maliki and his colleagues, and directly with leaders in the parliament. And I have heard from all of them that the parliament will be there to do the nation’s important work. They have made no decisions on what their schedule is for the rest of the summer. The normal practice is that July and August, the parliament does not meet. That does mean parliamentarians don’t work. They have constituencies to attend to just as our members of Congress do. What they do this year, they tell me, is going to be conditioned by what they have in front of them. And I have been told by parliamentary leaders that they would in no way support a two-month suspension of sessions if these critical legislative packages are waiting to be moved through the system. And obviously we’ll continue to keep engaged on that.”

On the “end game”:

“You have heard a number of U.S. officials talk about different clocks, an American clock and an Iraqi clock, and an American clock that is moving much faster than an Iraqi clock. I give you one other image, particularly when people start talking about end games. Sometimes I think that in the U.S. we’re looking at Iraq right now as though it were the last half of a three-reel movie. I think for Iraqis, it’s a five-reel movie and they are still in the first half of it. So I don’t see an end game, as it were, in sight. And that is why I get a little bit concerned when Americans talk about, well, we have got a couple of more months, and then we have to make final decisions. I think we have to be careful what we decide that affects another reality.”

On the consequences of ending the US engagement in Iraq:

“ [a]s difficult and challenging as things are now and as they’ve been over the last couple of years, my experience of three-and-a-half decades in this part of the world suggests to me that things could get very much worse if we don’t maintain an effective engagement here. And I think you’ve got to look at the negative side of the case in trying to come some – consider judgments about what we should and should not do... You have to consider whether our strategic enemy in Iraq, al Qaeda, then assumes real power and what that means for security, not just in the region, but well beyond. And we’ve got to consider what a total breakdown of security would mean in terms of its impact on the neighbors: what does Iran do, what does Turkey do, what do the Arab states do? Again, I can’t predict what those consequences might be, but I think they have to be very seriously considered before Americans make any decisions that would have an enormous impact on stability here in the region and well beyond that.”

Morning Edition, the two-hour newsmagazine airing weekdays and hosted by Steve Inskeep in Washington, D.C. and Renée Montagne from NPR West in Culver City, Calif., is public radio’s most listened-to program with nearly 13 million weekly listeners.