Roundtable with Aram Mahmood “Iraq 20 Years On: A Country at Critical Juncture”

Date of publication: April 17, 2023

Prague Centre for Middle East Relations (PCMR) of CEVRO Institute organized a roundtable entitled “Iraq 20 Years On: A Country at Critical Juncture.” Our distinguished guest was Aram Mahmood, lecturer at Komar University of Science and Technology and former member of Iraqi Presidency Advisory Council under the tenure of president Barham Salih. The event took place on April 12, 2023 at CEVRO Institute (Jungmannova 28/17, Prague).

Iraq 20 years after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime remains marred with serious challenges including endemic corruption deeply embedded within the political system, lack of economic diversification, erosion of state authority as well as demographic pressures or outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil. The new cabinet of Muhammad Shia al-Sudani introduced an ambitious reform agenda and is also tackling new issues including the question of developing Iraqi gas sector or the US-imposed rules on Iraqi financial transactions. At the same time, Saudi Arabia and Iran continue their rapprochement possibly signaling shifting regional dynamics. We tackled the pressing question: where is Iraq going under the new cabinet? Shall we expect business as usual with further deterioration of the overall situation in Iraq or are we at a breaking point heralding reform and change?

Aram Mahmood (Aram Kokoy) holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Oregon State University and currently teaches at Komar University of Science and Technology in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. From 2019 to 2022, Aram served as a member of the Iraqi Presidency Advisory Council under the tenure of president Barham Salih. He also served on the Governing Council of the Coalition of Democracy and Justice, a political party that ran in the 2018 Iraqi elections. Aram is apolitical and economic commentator making frequent appearance in media to discuss current economic situation.