Emma Sky was an Arabist, working at the British Council in 2003 when the United Kingdom joined the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Though she strongly opposed the war, she opted to join the coalition provisional authority, which administered Iraq after the fall of Saddam. Here’s why
She served as the top coalition official in the-oil rich and ethnically diverse province of Kirkuk, and later returned to Iraq as the top civilian advisor to advisor to general Ray Odierno as they managed what’s now known as the Sunni Awakening. She tells stories from those experiences in the episode you are about to hear. She also has them down in her new memoir called The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq
Sky had an unusual upbringing. She was raised by a single mom who worked at an all boys school. So young emma sky’s formative years very much included being the only girl in the room, and she discusses how that experience affected her later on in life.
We kick off with a discussion about the current state of affairs in Iraq and Syria, before pivoting to a longer discussion about her life and career, which includes a long stint in Israel at the height of the peace process in the 1990s and its unraveling.