August 16, 2012, 3:00 pm - September 28, 2023, 12:15 am


SEIU Building
1800 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (Map)

The Middle East Institute is proud to host a discussion about Iraq's oil sector with Naufel Al-Hassan, Raad Al Kadiri, Brett McGurk, and Denise Natali. Iraq's crude oil production is recovering, producing a significant jump in oil exports in 2012. And yet the growth in Iraq's oil sector has exacerbated longstanding challenges, aggravating tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurds and fostering accusations of patronage and corruption on both sides. How has the Iraqi government benefited from the recovery of Iraq's oil industry? What hope is there of Baghdad and Erbil reaching an agreement over how to divide or share resources? What are the opportunities and challenges faced by international oil companies seeking to do business in Iraq? These are among some of the issues to be addressed by this distinguished panel.


Naufel Al-Hassan has been the Iraqi Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, Washington, D.C., since March, 2008. Mr. Al-Hassan served as the foreign relations adviser to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki from 2007-2008.  While in exile in the United States in the early 1990's, Mr. Al-Hassan co-founded and was CEO of the first Iraqi-American Association in Arizona.  Mr. Al-Hassan holds a BSC in chemical engineering from Basra University and a Masters degree in semiconductor processing and manufacturing from Arizona State University.  He has engineering and management work experience in the Middle East and in the United States, and worked in Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Minerals in 1980s.   Mr. Al-Hassan is the author of many articles focusing on economic issues in emerging democracies, Iraq and Middle East economies and trade relationships, and investment trends in the energy sector.

Raad Al Kadiri is a partner and head of the Markets and Country Strategies Group at PFC Energy.  A country risk specialist, Raad leads a team that focuses on the political, economic and sectoral factors that influence decision-making in oil and gas producing states, including the Middle East and Africa, which is his own particular area of expertise. He also leads PFC Energy's Iraq Advisory Service, a retainer providing in-depth analysis of Iraq's ongoing political developments and its emerging business environment.  From 1990 to 1991, he was a teaching fellow of politics at the University of St Andrews, and from 2000-2001 he was an associate professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University.

Brett McGurk has served on the national security staffs of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, handling matters relating to U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He is presently a senior adviser at the U.S. State Department.  In the Obama administration, McGurk has served as a special adviser to the National Security Council staff and as a senior adviser to Ambassadors Ryan Crocker, Christopher Hill, and James Jeffrey in Baghdad. McGurk participated in President Obama's 2009 review of Iraq policy and helped manage the transition from military to civilian lead in the wake of the U.S. military drawdown.  In 2012, he served briefly as President Obama's ambassador designate to Iraq.  During the Bush administration, Mr. McGurk served as director for Iraq and then as special assistant to the President and senior director for Iraq and Afghanistan.   In 2008, Mr. McGurk served as a lead negotiator and coordinator during bilateral talks with the Iraqi Government on both a long-term Strategic Framework Agreement and a Security Agreement to govern the temporary presence of U.S. forces and the normalization of bilateral relations between Iraq and the United States.

Denise Natali is the Minerva Chair at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University.  Over the past two decades she has traveled, lived and worked in the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria, and is the author of numerous publications on Kurdish politics, economy, and identity, including The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post-Gulf War Iraq (Syracuse University Press, 2010) and The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey and Iran (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005).  Her current research is on federalism and the political economy of post-Saddam Iraq, with a focus on energy security and resource-based conflict.  Natali also specializes in post-conflict relief and reconstruction, having worked for the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and INGOS in Peshawar, Pakistan, and post-Gulf War and post-Saddam Iraqi Kurdistan respectively.  

Moderator: Allen Keiswetter is a Middle East Institute scholar who previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, director of Arabian Peninsula Affairs in the Near East Bureau, and director of the Office of Intelligence Liaison in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, among other positions.