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

Featured in-depth research & reports


Advisory Committee

  • 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
  • Mr. Olin Wethington, Founder and Chairman, Wethington International LLC

Past events

Tue, Jun 9, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former foreign minister Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim

ONLINE EVENT — A discussion with Iraq’s most recent former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim moderated by Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim.


Thu, May 14, 2020

A conversation with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Luay Al-Khatteeb

ONLINE EVENT – An online discussion with Iraq’s former Electricity Minister H.E. Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb.


Wed, Apr 29, 2020

What’s next for US-Iraq relations?

ONLINE EVENT – Nonresident Senior Fellow Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff discusses his new report that analyzes the current challenges in US-Iraq relations and presents policy recommendations.


Fri, Mar 20, 2020

US-Iran tensions ratchet up in Iraq

ONLINE EVENT – A virtual event on escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, playing out in Iraq, the COVID-19 outbreak, and implications for the region.


Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Roundtable with Iraqi MP Sarkwat Shamsulddin

Iraqi MP Sarkawt Shamsulddin discusses the formation of the new government, US-Iran tensions, and the ongoing pro-reform demonstrations in Iraq.

1:00pm Washington DC

Thu, Jan 9, 2020

US-Iran tensions rising with Iraq in the middle

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative and Future of Iran Initiative hosted a conversation on US-Iran tensions and the impact on Iraq with Congressman Seth Moulton and Senator Chris Murphy.

2:00pm Washington

Thu, Nov 21, 2019

Roundtable with KRG Head of Foreign Relations Department Safeen Dizayee

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private discussion with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s top diplomat to discuss recent events in Iraq.

10:00am Washington DC

Fri, Nov 1, 2019

Iraq’s political and energy outlook

On November 1, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative and Global Energy Center hosted an event on what’s next for Iraq amidst historic protests.

9:00am Washington DC

Wed, Oct 2, 2019

Roundtable with Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih Al-Fayyadh

The Iraq Initiative hosted Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Al-Fayyadh for a conversation about US-Iraq relations and efforts to integrate the militias into the armed forces.

4:00pm Washington DC

Tue, Sep 10, 2019

A conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen.


Tue, Aug 6, 2019

A view from Iraq: A conversation with Iraqi MP Sarkawt Shamsulddin

On August 6, the Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative hosted Iraqi Council of Representatives Member Sarkawt Shamsulddin for a public event.


Wed, Jun 26, 2019

Arab Barometer Polling Data Event

On June 26, the Hariri Center, in collaboration with Arab Barometer, held a public event to release Arab Barometer’s latest public opinion survey data from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Following their presentation, Arab Barometer experts Mark Tessler and Kathrin Thomas joined Iraq Initiative Director Abbas Kadhim and Nonresident Senior Fellow Faysal Itani for a panel […]

Event Recap by Atlantic Council

Iraq Middle East

Sat, Jun 1, 2019

Private Roundtable on Iraq with DASD Mick Mulroy

On May 7, the Iraq Initiative hosted Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Michael “Mick” Mulroy for a private, off-the-record discussion on Iraq. Middle East Programs Director William F. Wechsler moderated the conversation.

Insights & Impact

Iraq Middle East

Fri, Jul 19, 2019

Private virtual roundtable with Al-Bayan Center on US-Iraq relations

On July 19, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a roundtable with Al-Bayan Center, a think tank based in Baghdad. Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim moderated the conversation. The participants from Al-Bayan joined by videoconference.

Event Recap by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Energy & Environment

All content

Sat, Aug 1, 2020

Azodi quoted in The New York Times on Iran’s nuclear program

In the News

Iran Middle East

Thu, Jul 30, 2020

When it comes to Iran, not everything that goes boom in the night is sabotage

Even though it is tempting to attribute these current events to foreign sabotage, it is important not to assume that all of these incidents have the same cause.

IranSource by Raz Zimmt

Iran Middle East

Thu, Jul 30, 2020

Iran-Syria air defense pact could cause Russian-Iranian friction

Neither Damascus nor Tehran has been happy about Moscow’s unwillingness to enable themselves or Syria to halt Israeli attacks. The signing of the Iran-Syria air defense pact, though, may change this.

MENASource by Mark N. Katz

Iran Middle East

Wed, Jul 29, 2020

The tale of an Iranian foreign minister’s rise and fall from grace

Mohammad Javad Zarif’s fall from grace cannot be considered apart from the Rouhani administration’s and the larger moderate camp’s loss of credibility in the eyes of many Iranians.

IranSource by Ali Fathollah-Nejad and Amin Naeni

Iran Middle East

Wed, Jul 29, 2020

Iran’s air attack tools have limited utility against adversaries

From Tehran’s point of view, a strong emphasis on air attack tools is understandable and reasonable. However, it is important not to overestimate the impact these means can deliver.

IranSource by Robert Czulda

Iran Middle East

Tue, Jul 28, 2020

Fontenrose quoted in The National on U.S.-Iran Diplomacy

In the News

Iran National Security

Mon, Jul 27, 2020

Booming stock market in Iran is a national security project

Iranian official’s statements mask the reality that the rial’s loss of value is a trend and has not been caused by a single incident.

IranSource by Shahir Shahidsaless

Iran Middle East

Sun, Jul 26, 2020

Slavin joins Iran International to discuss the future of U.S.-Iran relations

In the News

Iran Middle East

Sat, Jul 25, 2020

Slavin joins MENA on the MAP to discuss Iran and its interests in the Mediterranean region

In the News

Iran Middle East

Fri, Jul 24, 2020

Why did Iran back Mustafa al-Kadhimi as Iraqi prime minister?

A key reason for this is that the American-installed political structure in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has never really been successful in terms of fulfilling the main responsibilities of a state: providing security and basic necessities of life to the Iraqi people.

IranSource by Hassan Ahmadian

Iran Iraq