Abbas Kadhim

  • After Sistani and Khamenei—Looming Successions Will Shape the Middle East

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    As Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei age, the international community of Shia Muslims faces a looming void in religious and political leadership. Whoever succeeds these leaders will determine the extent of international influence in Iraq, the direction of Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear program, and the nature of both countries’ relations with the United States. As the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative Director Abbas Kadhim and Future of Iran Initiative Director Barbara Slavin argue in their new Issue Brief "After Sistani and

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  • Kadhim Quoted in Homeland 411 on Declining Support for the US in MENA


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  • Parliament Voted to Complete Iraq’s Cabinet: What’s Next?

    Since the ratification of Iraq’s constitution in 2005, the government formation has been an excruciatingly protracted process. While the constitution does not require a specific distribution of appointments by sect or ethnicity, the multitude of political blocs and the ethno-sectarian interest networks forced an allotment of cabinet positions among the diverse components of the Iraqi population. While inclusive governance is an admirable goal, it can be a formula for failure when merit is sacrificed for the sake of meeting ethno-sectarian quotas. With only a few exceptions, Iraqi ministries have been treated as fiefdoms to be controlled by the ministers or their parties and face little accountability or transparency requirements. Even in the few cases when ministers have resigned—or were removed from office for proven corruption or mismanagement of public funds—they later returned to senior political positions or left the country unscathed.

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  • What Does New Polling Data from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan Tell Us?

    On June 26, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East in collaboration with Arab Barometer held a public event to release the Arab Barometer's latest public opinion survey data from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. The data covered topics such as the state of the economy, institutional trust, migration, government performance, media consumption, corruption, and foreign relations. Following their presentation, Arab Barometer experts Dr. Mark Tessler and Dr. Kathrin Thomas joined Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim and Nonresident Senior Fellow Faysal Itani for a panel discussion moderated by Wall Street Journal reporter Vivian Salama.
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  • Abbas Kadhim interviewed in NRT: Whether it is possible for Iraq to remain neutral in the US-Iran dispute


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  • Abbas Kadhim quoted in the Arab Weekly: Washington experts see risks in US-Iran showdown in Iraq


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  • Iraq: In the Crossfire of a Potential US-Iran Conflict?

    Rising tensions between the United States and Iran are causing grave concern in Iraq. Iraq’s security and political stability will suffer greatly if this tension erupts into a violent conflict. Iraq has only just snatched a difficult victory from the jaws of an existential terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and is coping with post-conflict challenges that range from the reconstruction of destroyed cities—where more than a million internally displaced people are still unable to return to their homes—to the rebuilding of its battered economy and the revival of its energy, agriculture, education, housing, transportation, and healthcare sectors. If a new conflict erupts in the region, it will complicate the situation for Iraq in some unimaginable ways, even if Iraq is not directly involved.
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  • Kadhim Quoted in The Arab Weekly on the Challenges of Rebuilding Iraq


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  • Sixteen Years after Regime Change, Iraq Needs to Double Down on its Gains

    The 2003 US invasion of Iraq ushered in a new era in the country’s modern history, with many accomplishments and setbacks. The invasion ended a fifty-year period of autocracy that regressed from a benevolent dictatorship to absolute tyranny. Though there have been critiques, protests, and anger towards the government over the past fifteen years, Iraqis have shown a desire to reform their political system and have shown no tendencies toward destroying the political system or regressing to the tyrannical past. Given all the blood and treasure invested in Iraq as well as its strategic importance, the United States should take note of the progress Iraq has made and work with Iraqis to double down on their results thus far to ensure the positive trajectory only continues. 


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  • Expert Analysis on Jared Kushner’s Trip to the Middle East

    Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the US President Donald Trump, is on his way to six countries in the Gulf states to discuss and present part of his long awaited Israel-Palestine peace process plan in private meetings with foreign diplomats. He is expected to visit Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey over the next few days. While the plan is still held tightly secret, experts are speculating on the selection of countries Kushner is to visit and what that implies for the plan. Below are Atlantic Council’s Middle East experts analysis on the implications of this visit and what it means for the later unveiling in April this year.


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