Iraq On The International Stage by Jane Kinninmont
|Title||Iraq on the International Stage|
|Language||English, Spanish, and French|
This report aims to shed light on the key actors, processes and narratives that are shaping Iraq's foreign policy behavior and options, at a time when the country is seeking to emerge from international sanctions and resume a more normal role in international affairs, but is also facing intensifying domestic divisions over its position in a Middle East region that is increasingly polarized along pro-Iranian or pro-Gulf lines. The analysis draws on a series of first-hand interviews conducted in Iraq (Baghdad, Erbil and Suleimaniya) in 2012-13, as well as two expert-level workshops and interviews in London and Washington with a variety of Iraqi and other diplomats, politicians, analysts, historians and civil society voices. Iraq's foreign relations are increasingly intertwined with the country's own divisions, and the increasing polarization of key Middle Eastern countries over Syria threatens to escalate Iraq's internal crisis. Syria has become the most divisive foreign policy issue facing Iraq, with little consensus on how to respond to the conflict. To protect against the risk of spillover from Syria, Iraq's political groupings must develop at least a basic agreement on their strategic response to the conflict. Western governments should caution their allies in the Gulf that the exploitation of sectarian discourses will have toxic effects that could last for at least a generation.