Monday, June 15, 2015

Emma Sky

Emma Sky is a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute. Sky served as advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010; as advisor to the Commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2006; as advisor to the US Security Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in 2005; and as Governorate Co-ordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003-2004.

Her new book is The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq. From Sky's Q & A with Tim Lewis for the Guardian:

When you told the Iraq inquiry – also known as the Chilcot inquiry – how you ended up in Iraq, they scarcely believed you. Can you explain?

Well, I was working for the British Council and I volunteered to go to Iraq in 2003. The British government said it would be for three months, before we handed the country back to the Iraqis. I was against the war and I thought this would be penance: I can go and apologise to everybody and help them rebuild. I’d spent a decade working Israel-Palestine, so I’d got experience in conflict mediation and institution development, and I thought I’d be useful. I didn’t know what my job was going to be, but when I arrived in Kirkuk, I was told: “Great! You are now the governor coordinator, you are in charge of the province.” It was a slightly embarrassing position to be put in.

Did you feel at all qualified?

No, not at all. And in my first week, insurgents came to the house where I was living and blew the house up with me in it. I survived, thank God, but I had nowhere to live. I went to see a US colonel to ask for accommodation and he said: “We’re going to hunt those people down!” And I was: “No, no, no, they were attacking me because I’m a symbol of an illegal occupation.” So I went back...[read on]
Learn more about The Unraveling at the publisher's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Unraveling.

--Marshal Zeringue