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Torn between two allies: How Europeans can reduce Iraqi dependence on Iran and the US

Author: Sajad Jiyad

Affiliation:  Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations

Organization/Publisher: European Council on Foreign Relations

Date/Place: July 28, 2020/ Berlin, Germany

Type of Literature: Analysis

Number of Pages: 30


Keywords: European Union, Iraq, United States, Iran, Security



This brief is commissioned to advise the EU how it can play a role in Iraq’s political and security situation. With the economic recession and the COVID-19 fallout, the country is prone to know a new phase of ISIS attacks. However, with escalating tension between the US and Iran, Iraqi’s selection of a new prime minister opens a space for the EU to take part in Iraq. If the EU does not take things seriously, the security implications would clearly affect the Middle East and Europe. The new generation is protesting and demanding improvements in employment, social justice, political representation, and economy; but potential terrorist attacks will lead to immigration flows towards Europe. Thus, the Iraqis’ need for reforms and the latest US policy to withdraw its troops from Iraq opens a space for the EU to undertake a commitment in Iraq; as Iraq relies less on the US, the EU can position itself to prevent Iran’s impact in the country. To do so, the EU needs to start a high-level diplomatic dialogue with different players locally, and start helping Iraq at the economic, political and security levels. Additionally, the EU countries need to provide a post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq. In terms of security, the EU members can increase their presence through NATO missions, and mitigate the tension between the US and Iran in Iraq. 


By: Imad Atoui, CIGA Research Associate




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