Iraqi Woman Named Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States

Iraq’s Governing Council named Rend Rahim Francke, an Iraqi-American woman, as its ambassador to the United States. Francke became a US citizen in 1987 and directs the Iraq Foundation, a Washington-based organization working for democracy and human rights in Iraq. According to the Seattle Times, Francke was a leading voice among the Iraqi people worried about the Bush Administration’s lack of post-war planning. Francke also has called for greater inclusion of women in the establishment of the new Iraq government.

The Governing Council is also looking for a replacement for one of the three female governing council members, Aquila al-Hasmimi, who was assassinated two months ago due to a severe lack of security. According to the Associated Press, al-Hashimi’s replacement is expected to be a Shiite Muslim.

The Bush Administration pledged support for inclusion of women in decision-making bodies in Iraq. However, with only 2 women currently on the Iraqi Governing Council, only one woman to the Iraqi cabinet, and no women appointed to the 24-member constitutional committee, advocates for Iraqi women argue they are not being included in the building of a civil society in their country.

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Associated Press 11/23/03; The Seattle Times 11/24/03

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