Lay of the Land: Iraq, known historically in the West as Mesopotamia, is located in southwestern Asia and borders the Persian Gulf on the south. Its twin river system, the Tigris-Euphrates, empties into the Persian Gulf. Iraq is largely desert and flood plain, but to the north and east are high mountain ranges. Most Iraqis live along the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
A booklet handed out to US soldiers on their way to Iraq included this piece of prescient advice: “That tall man in the flowing robe you are going to see soon, with the whiskers and the long hair, is a first-class fighting man, highly skilled in guerilla warfare. Few fighters in any country, in fact, excell [sic] him in that kind of situation. If he is your friend, he can be a staunch and valuable ally. If he should happen to be your enemy—look out!” That booklet, A Short Guide to Iraq, was produced by the United States Army and given to American soldiers…in 1942, when US troops invaded Iraq in support of British troops.
Relations between Iraq and the US this decade have been dominated by events stemming from the American invasion in March 2003. Similarly to the Gulf War in 1991, US military forces had little trouble battling Saddam Hussein’s army. Only this time US Marines and Army units didn’t stop short, and instead pushed through to Baghdad, causing the Iraqi dictator to flee and his regime to collapse. President George W. Bush declared a short time later that the war was over and that it was just a matter of getting Iraq back on its feet.
Oil has been the central trade issue with Iraq since the US invasion in 2003. The United States imports very little from Iraq except oil. From 2003 to 2007, American importation of crude oil increased from $4.57 billion to $10.8 billion. Altogether, US imports from Iraq totaled $11.4 billion in 2007.
US Spying on Iraqi Government
Despite the Bush administration’s best efforts to characterize the situation in Iraq in a positive light, the State Department has reported that “significant human rights problems” continue to exist inside the war-torn country.
To Pull Out or Not to Pull Out
Alexander K. Sloan
Appointment: Mar 30, 1931
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 18, 1931
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Oct 19, 1932
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1931.
The nation of Iraq, which said goodbye to the last American combat troops only last December, has sent an ambassador to the United States who is a former academic who studied in the West. Dr. Jabir Habib Jabir was appointed ambassador in August 2011 and presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on January 18, 2012.
A career diplomat who has been running the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, since June 1 was nominated on September 10 by President Barack Obama to be the next ambassador there. In mid-June Obama’s original choice for the job, Brett McGurk, was forced to withdraw his candidacy after the revelation of racy emails sent in 2008 between the married diplomat, then stationed in Baghdad, and reporter Gina Chon, whom he later married.
Born circa 1961, Beecroft earned a BA from Brigham Young University in 1982 and a JD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in Venezuela, circa 1982-1984. He told LDS Church News, “"I distinctly remember my father taking me aside and teaching me to look for the person in need. He used to send my brothers and me out at Christmas time with money in envelopes to anonymously deposit in the mailboxes of people in our community who were in need.”
Before joining the Foreign Service in 1994, Beecroft practiced law in San Francisco. Overseas, Beecroft has specialized in Middle East affairs, serving at the embassies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Damascus, Syria. Beecroft’s assignments in Washington have included service in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and Executive Secretariat. He served as special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and as executive assistant to Secretaries of State Colin Powell (from 2004 to 2005) and Condoleezza Rice (from 2005 to 2008).
He returned to the Middle East to serve as ambassador at the embassy in Amman, Jordan, from July 17, 2008 to June 4, 2011. He joined the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, as deputy chief of mission on July 14, 2011, and became chargé d’affaires upon the departure of Ambassador James Jeffrey on June 1, 2012.
He is married to Anne Tisdel Beecroft, who also earned a BS at BYU in 1982, as well as a JD from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1985. The couple has four children, Blythe, Warren, Sterling and Grace.
Ambassador Stephen Beecroft Receives Human Rights Award (by Page Johnson, LDS Church News)
A Diplomatic Life (by Brittany Karford Rogers, BYU Magazine)more