Ambassador H.E. Lukman Faily spoke in Raleigh on the 29th floor of the Wells Fargo tower at Releigh’s Movers and shakers event.
He discussed how two-thirds of Iraq’s population is under the age of 35 and the Iraqi government is responsible for creating jobs for them. Yet, with the price of oil going down 60%, the main source of revenue for the country is not providing the same funds it did in the past.
The ambassador boldly stated, “corruption is deep,” Faily said. “This is a genuine movement for the people, for social justice and good governance. I can assure you, we will keep making mistakes,” Faily said.
In addition to the national budget suffering due to the price of oil, there are the internal conflicts and civil unrest causing 3.5 million Iraqi citizens to flee their homes. This in addition to the educated middle class having fled Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s tenure.
“ISIS can be defeated, but its underlying ideas and themes will be harder to root out,”Faily said. It has its own self-destruct button, because of its viciousness and its unwillingness to accommodate anyone else,” he said.
“There will be a ripple on effect of partition that will not end with Iraq,” Faily said. “It will create a tsunami in the region.”
Faily also made surprising suggestions for alternative sources of revenue for Iraq, focusing on agriculture and tourism and lessening the regions dependence on oil. This undoubtedly would improve the housing sector as well seeing as the average household accommodates 12 people.
“Tourism,” he said. “Iraq is the cradle of civilization, and you have at least five or six civilizations on top of each other ... Here is a good story to tell, Iraq is not a country of violence but one that attracts tourism.”