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Britain and the Occupations of Iraq

Chaired by Professor Sir Adam Roberts KCMG FBA

Panellists: Dr Ali A. Allawi, Professor Nadje Al Ali, Professor Rosemary Hollis, and Professor Charles Tripp FBA

This panel will provide the opportunity for a public debate about British-Iraqi relations in the 10th anniversary year of British participation in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  The focus of the panel will be contemporary, but will allow for reflection on the ways in which the histories of Iraq and Great Britain have been intertwined.  It will be a chance to discuss the kinds of politics from which British occupation(s) of Iraq emerged and the political order that they have helped to bring into being. The interests, the prejudices and the passions on both sides have set in motion forces that have shaped the histories of both countries and the four panellists will introduce a number of themes that will help us to reflect on the still unfolding consequences.

It is organised by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) with the British Academy and in association with the Gertrude Bell Archive at Newcastle University. 

This panel discussion opened the conference on Gertrude Bell and Iraq - A Life and Legacy, held at the British Academy on 12-13 September 2013. 

Chair: Sir Adam Roberts KCMG, FBA is Senior Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor of International Relations, Oxford University. His recent books include (ed., with Timothy Garton Ash), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present, Oxford University Press, 2009; and (ed.), Democracy, Sovereignty and Terror: Lakshman Kadirgamar on the Foundations of International Order, I.B. Tauris, London, 2012. He lives in Oxford. His interests include mountaineering and cycling. He has written extensively on military occupations in the Middle East. He co-authored a report, Academic Freedom Under Israeli Military Occupation, International Commission of Jurists, London and Geneva, 1984. He is the author of ‘Prolonged Military Occupation: The Israeli-occupied Territories Since 1967’, The American Journal of International Law, vol. 84, no. 1, January 1990; and of several articles on Iraq since 2003, including ‘Transformative Military Occupation: Applying the Laws of War and Human Rights’, American Journal of International Law, vol. 100, no. 3, July 2006. In 2010 he was an expert witness at the Baha Mousa Inquiry, which considered UK detention practices in Iraq, and issued its report in 2011.

Panellists: Ali A. Allawi is an author, biographer and former government minister in Iraq. He is now a Research Professor at the National University of Singapore.  He received his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Harvard University. He served as an investment officer with the World Bank group before founding his own investment firm. Following the changes in Iraq in 2003, he served as the Minister of Trade, and then the first civilian Minister of Defence. In 2005 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Iraq and then served as Minister of Finance. In 2007, he left public service to pursue scholarly and academic interests. He has authored four books including The Occupation of Iraq (Yale: 2007) and The Crisis of Islamic Civilisation (Yale: 2009). His comprehensive biography, Faisal I of Iraq will be issued in September 2013 (Yale), and will cover the formative years of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the state system in the Middle East. At various times, he has been associated with Oxford University (Senior Associate Member); University of Exeter (Fellow); Princeton University (Fellow); and Harvard University (Fellow). He is currently working on a book on the economic history of the modern Arab/Islamic worlds.

Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London. Her main research interests revolve around gender theory; feminist activism; women and gender in the Middle East; transnational migration and diaspora moblization; war, conflict and reconstruction’ art & cultural studies. Her publications include What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (2009, University of California Press, co-authored with Nicola Pratt); Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives (Zed Books, 2009, co-edited with Nicola Pratt); Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present (2007, Zed Books) as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles. Her most recent book (co-edited with Deborah al-Najjar) is entitled We are Iraqis: Aesthetics & Politics in a Time of War (Syracuse University Press).

Rosemary Hollis is Professor of Middle East Policy Studies and Director of the Olive Tree Scholarship Programme at City University London. She was previously Director of Research (2005-08) and Head of the Middle East Programme (1995-05) at Chatham House, having completed five years in a similar post at the Royal United Services Institute. Her areas of expertise are the international politics of the Middle East and conflict issues in the region. Her PhD, gained in 1988 at George Washington University in Washington DC, was about the 1971 British withdrawal from the Gulf – also discussed in her book Britain and the Middle East in the 9/11 Era (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). She has an MA in War Studies (1975) and BA in History (1974) from Kings College London.

Charles Tripp is Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research interests include the nature of autocracy, state and resistance in the Middle East and the politics of Islamic identity. He is the author of: Islam and the Moral Economy: The Challenge of Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2006); A History of Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and the joint author of Iran and Iraq at War (I.B. Tauris, 1988) and of Iran-Saudi Arabia Relations and Regional Order (IISS, 1996). His most recent book is The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

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