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Grad To Help Rebuild Iraq

Grad To Help Rebuild IraqBarbara Bodine – a Fletcher graduate and former ambassador – is slated to lead transitional government in Baghdad and central Iraq. Umm Qasr, Iraq.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.14.03] On Friday - just days after coalition forces rolled into Iraq, signaling a major turning point in the war with Iraq - the White House declared the end of Saddam Hussein's regime. The announcement, coupled with news that much of Iraq's army had fallen into disarray, signaled the start of the next phase in the military operation: establishing a transitional government. Barbara Bodine - a seasoned diplomat trained at Tufts - and two veteran generals are slated to lead the post-war interim government as Iraq begins to rebuild.

"While the fighting in Baghdad - and the question of whether Saddam Hussein is still alive - continues, the components of Iraq's interim government after the war are already on the ground in the Middle East," reported Fortune Magazine.

According to the Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), the transitional government will be divided into three geographical sectors.

"Ret. Gen. Bruce Moore will oversee the north," reported USA Today. "Barbara Bodine, former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, is to take up residence in Baghdad and look after central Iraq. The south goes to retired Gen. Buck Walters. Twenty-three U.S. senior advisors will step in to run ministries such as oil, finance, communications, justice, and interior and to oversee specific jobs such as refugee resettlement."

Bodine - who earned a masters degree at Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - has held several high profile posts in the region.

"After initial tours in Hong Kong and Bangkok, Ambassador Bodine has spent her career working primarily on Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula," according to the State Department. "Bodine has also had assignments as Deputy Principal Officer in Baghdad, Iraq, and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion and occupation in 1990. She was awarded the Secretary of State's Award for Valor for her work in occupied Kuwait."

The Tufts graduate is no stranger to tense and dangerous environments.

"She's a career diplomat who has seen perhaps as much action as a battle worn general," reported ABC News. "During the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Bodine was ... held hostage by Iraqi troops at the U.S. Embassy. For four months, she and other hostages subsisted on a diet of tuna fish and swimming pool water."

Bodine has also survived an airline hijacking and was the ambassador to Yemen when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed.

But her new role in Iraq may be the most demanding challenge she's faced.

"Bodine has told friends and family she is looking forward to her new assignment, even though Baghdad will likely be a dangerous place," reported ABC News. "She's been assigned tough places before."

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