Chris Hill Confirmation Hearing: The Six-Party North Korea Talks And Iraq
Hill takes on his North Korea experience. All of the north’s neighbors “come with a long history, so you’ve got to work these issues through.” With Iraq, “it’s obviously a different mission, a different goal we’re trying to… accomplish,” but included is the role of ensuring “these countries respect Iraqi sovereignty.” Operating “multilaterally, making other people understand Iraq’s position” is important.
What are the remaining challenges in Iraq? Provincial elections in January were “a good sign that people are prepared to come to the ballot box to deal with their challenges.” Iraqis voted against “corruption.” Parliamentary elections are “very key indeed,” coinciding later this year with U.S. troop drawdowns. “One of the first issues I have to deal with is making sure the political process is going forward.” Next is the relationship between the provinces and the central government, particularly with the Kurds. “We can’t allow a problem in one area” destabilize the rest of the country, as with the much-contested multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk. Then comes economic development. The needed hydrocarbon law “is a fundamental question about what kind of economy Iraq will be built on.” The fourth issue is “making sure Iraq’s neighbors understand what we are doing and what we are not doing” — that is “making sure Iraq stands up a stable, secure and sovereign nation” and enlisting their support.