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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasThe Future of US-Iraq Relations

The Future of US-Iraq Relations

Author: C. Anthony Pfaff

Affiliation: Atlantic Council

Organization/Publisher: Atlantic Council

Date/Place: April 27, 2020/ Washington DC, USA

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 24


Keywords: Iraq, U.S., Middle East, Security, Economy, COVID-19


The rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was an attempt by a non-state terrorist organization to fill a power vacuum. Conflicting parties in Iraq, i.e. Shia and Sunni groups, made a coalition to eradicate the menace of ISIS, but once it was removed the power struggle started again. Now the conflicting groups are divided under two poles—the U.S. and Iran. The article identifies three contemporary objectives of the U.S. in Iraq: eradication of Iranian influence, containment of terrorist organizations including remnants of ISIS, and economic revival of Iraq with the help of foreign direct investments (FDI). Furthermore, the author identifies eight necessary measures that the U.S. has to take to achieve said goals: keeping Iraq out of the security dilemma between U.S. and Iran, help and support Baghdad economically and politically (which is beyond the capacity of isolated Tehran), integration of rebel groups (including the Iran backed militias) into the Iraqi security forces, acceptance of brutal mistakes done by U.S. in Iraq since 2003 and acknowledgement of its assistance to Iraqi government, encouragement of U.S. enterprises to invest in Iraq, permanent assistance of U.S. military to security forces of Iraq in case of ISIS-like insurgency, facilitation of Iraqi health sector to combat COVID-19, and turning the table of mediation by removing Iran from its arbitrary role. The author concludes by presenting a nuclear option if the U.S. fails to achieve its objectives, i.e. support of Kurds and Sunni groups that would not be in favor of Iran. 

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Research Associate



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