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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Anti-war Briton Emma Sky is helping to reshape Iraq

Great article about a top Odierno advisor, Emma Sky. Ms. Sky is an anti-war Englishwoman who has been compared to Gertrude Bell. Both of these ladies are an inspiration; Ms. Sky was a major opponent of the war in Iraq, yet she has devoted her life towards ensuring the war's outcome is acceptable for her country and its main ally and the people of Iraq.
Ms Sky, 41, was working for the British Council in Manchester when the US and Britain entered Iraq in March 2003 - a war she strongly opposed. Eager to let Iraqis know that many in Europe were against the invasion, she volunteered for a team being sent by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to help to administer Iraq after the downfall of Saddam Hussein...

The year 2007 was a turning point in a war that had become increasingly brutal. A surge of 30,000 extra US troops, coupled with a decision by Sunni tribal leaders to turn against al-Qaeda under the payroll of the US military, finally started to reduce violence. At every step Ms Sky was at General Odierno's side, often working with him from 7am until 11pm, helping to look behind the faces of the “enemy”. “Who are these people? What do they want? What is their reason for using violence? It is not like they are just having a bad hair day or are completely deranged,” she said...

By slipping out on her own to meet different elements of Iraqi society, she provided an invaluable viewpoint for the US military, which had realised that it could not win the peace in Iraq through force alone. She ruffled feathers at times with her opinions, but was nonetheless listened to. “I have a seat at the table...so I have always been given that opportunity to be heard, to have that access to influence.”

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