Iraq Initiative

  • 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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  • 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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  • How to Counter Iran’s Proxies

    In early May, the United States deployed an aircraft carrier group, a bomber wing, and a Patriot Battery to the Gulf region reportedly in response to threats by Iran and its proxies. At the time, the potential for escalation seemed high with the Air Force flying “deterrence missions” and Iranian military leaders referring to the aircraft carrier as a ...
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  • Private Roundtable on Iraq with DASD Mick Mulroy

    On May 7, the Atlantic Council's Iraq Initiative hosted US Department of Defense Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Michael "Mick" Mulroy for a private, off-the-record discussion on Iraq. Atlantic Council Middle East Programs Director and Rafik Hariri Center Director William F. Wechsler moderated the conversation.
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  • Roundtable with Iraqi Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi

    On March 28, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private roundtable with Mr. Mohammed al-Halbousi, Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq. Atlantic Council Board Director General David Petraeus moderated the conversation. Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson gave opening remarks. 


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  • Roundtable with Iraqi Foreign Minister H.E. Mohamed Alhakim

    On February 8, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private roundtable with H.E. Mohamed Alhakim, Foreign Minister of Iraq. Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim moderated the conversation. Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe gave introductory remarks.


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  • Roundtable with DAS for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek

    On February 5, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private roundtable with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek to discuss US-Iraq relations following his recent trip to Iraq. Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim moderated the conversation. Atlantic Council Middle East Programs Director William Wechsler gave introductory remarks.


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  • Kadhim Joins PBS to Discuss Trump’s Remarks on US Troops in Iraq to "Watch Iran"


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  • Kadhim Quoted in CNBC on Iraq's 2019 budget


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  • Nearly One Hundred Days In, How is Iraq’s New Government Performing?

    Spending the last two weeks of 2018 in Iraq offered a window into Iraqi politics, the economy, and how Iraqis are coping on a variety of issues. My trip began with a conference, and despite the socially and politically contentious issues under discussion—citizenship, identity, inclusive governance, human development, education, among others—and the diverse ethno-sectarian background of the participants, there was a consensus on the most fundamental issue: that Iraqis must build their own nation together and focus on the future, rather than dwell on the injurious past.


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