About the program
The Atlantic Council is leading a long-term initiative on Iraq led by Dr. Abbas Kadhim. The Iraq Initiative seeks to provide US and European policymakers with unique perspectives from within Iraq as well as impartial, pragmatic policy recommendations. The Iraq Initiative addresses the current security challenges Iraq faces as well as identifies policies that will unlock Iraq’s potential to develop the drivers of any successful society: inclusive politics, economic development, and a vibrant civil society. It is critical that international conversation about Iraq moves from being solely focused on security and military engagement to broader policy issues such as attracting investment, improving governance and service delivery, and the country’s unique geopolitical role. The Iraq Initiative also works to develop relationships with Iraqi officials to bring them together with the right US and European policymakers and influencers to discuss how to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
Featured commentary & analysis
Thu, Oct 17, 2019
The sudden outbreak of protests in Iraq on October 1 was part of a pattern the country has witnessed in recent years. Understanding this context as well as the grievances driving the protestors helps explain the latest unrest. As it stands now, Iraq is in precarious moment in which bold, concrete action from the government […]
MENASource by Rend al-Rahim
Thu, Oct 3, 2019
This week Iraq has experienced the largest protests to date against Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s government, if not any Iraqi government since the fall of former President Saddam Hussein.
MENASource by C. Anthony Pfaff
Mon, Sep 16, 2019
Atlantic Council experts react to the September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities and what it means for global energy markets and the wider region.
New Atlanticist by David A. Wemer
Tue, Sep 3, 2019
Sensing the immense geopolitical challenges Iran is facing, these Kurdish groups—which seek autonomy through armed struggle—might be testing the waters amid mounting regional pressure on Tehran.
IranSource by Tamer Badawi
Fri, May 17, 2019
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.
New Atlanticist by Abbas Kadhim
Thu, Aug 22, 2019
Decades of arguments and analysis continue to discuss whether Arab citizens actually want democracy, whether they are “ready” for it, if appropriate conditions exist for democratic rule, and so on. Fortunately, two recent polls offer answers to some of these questions. Their results demonstrate how important Arabs consider the pursuit of democracy to be relative to other national priorities.
MENASource by Richard LeBaron and Leah Hickert
Tue, Jun 18, 2019
Solutions will emphasize political efforts to continue to isolate Iran from the international community, make dependence on Iranian support less attractive to its proxies, and cultivate partners who can provide the kind of good governance and responsible behavior that serve as a more attractive model than Iran’s divisive practices.
MENASource by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff
Featured in-depth research & reports
Mon, Jul 15, 2019
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.
Issue Brief by Abbas Kadhim and Barbara Slavin
Mon, Aug 19, 2019
Construction of religious sites has a long history in both Iraq and Iran. The Imam Ali Brigades’ religious narrative justifies its presence in Sinjar, but their contribution to the patchwork of paramilitaries in a disputed area is a cause for concern.
IranSource by Lizzie Porter
Tue, Jul 16, 2019
Since 2003, the principle of multi-party consensus has defined Iraq’s political system. This formula was deemed best for Iraq during a transition period, and it relied on the existence of broad sectarian and ethnic coalitions.
MENASource by Rend al-Rahim
- Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi, Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Middle East, Indiana University, Bloomington
- Ambassador Rend al-Rahim, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States
- Mr. Stephen J. Hadley, Former US National Security Advisor
- Mr. Majid Jafar, CEO, Crescent Petroleum
- Ambassador Srood Najib, Former Head, Multilateral Department, Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Dr. Meghan O’Sullivan, Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Kennedy School, Harvard University
- General David Petraeus, Chairman, KKR Global Institute
- Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States