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.

Experts

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

Wed, Aug 11, 2021

Exploring humanitarian frameworks for Venezuela: Learning from Iraq’s UN program failure

Online Event What are the lessons learned from Iraq’s humanitarian program that are applicable to Venezuela? How can the role of the US and the international community in the Iraq experience be applied to present-day Venezuela?

¿Cuáles lecciones del programa humanitario de Irak son aplicables a Venezuela? ¿Cómo se compara el rol de Estados Unidos y de la comunidad internacional en la experiencia de Irak con el caso de Venezuela hoy en día?

2:00pm Economic Sanctions Politics & Diplomacy Resilience & Society

Wed, Jul 28, 2021

A conversation with H.E. Ali Allawi

Online Event H.E. Ali Allawi, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance, and Abbas Kadhim, Director of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Council, discuss a host of issues facing Iraq, including the economy, security, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

10:30am Economy & Business Fiscal and Structural Reform Iraq Middle East

Tue, Apr 13, 2021

Opportunities and challenges: A conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen

Online Event A conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen on the heels of the Biden administration’s first round of strategic dialogue with Iraq.

12:00pm Economy & Business Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Mon, Mar 22, 2021

Iraqi diaspora mobilization and the future development of Iraq

Online Event A discussion surrounding the upcoming paper, Iraqi Diaspora Mobilization and the Future Development of Iraq, which explores Iraqi diaspora mobilization before and after the 2003 invasion and fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

10:00am Economy & Business Iraq Politics & Diplomacy Resilience & Society

Tue, Feb 16, 2021

Iraq: A road map for recovery

Online Event A discussion surrounding the new report, Iraq: A roadmap for recovery, which outlines some of the most important discussions, findings, and recommendations of the recently convened US-Europe-Iraq Track II Dialogue.

9:00am Economy & Business Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Jan 6, 2021

Iraq’s static budget process

Online Event A new paper by the Iraq Initiative outlines the inefficiencies inherent in Iraq’s current budget process and the need for a revamped, dynamic and transparent budget mechanism.

9:00am Economy & Business Fiscal and Structural Reform Iraq Middle East

Mon, Dec 14, 2020

Iraq’s energy security strategy: A path to diversity and energy independence

Online Event A new report by the Iraq Initiative outlines immediate and medium-term practical measures to tackle Iraq’s most pressing issues, in its quest to attain energy independence.

3:00pm Energy & Environment Energy Markets & Governance Geopolitics & Energy Security Iraq

Mon, Nov 16, 2020

Assessing perceptions of affected communities in Northern Iraq on peace, justice and governance

Online Event A new report by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Peace and Human Rights Data Program, details how northern Iraqi communities targeted by the Islamic State (IS) are denied justice.

11:30am Iraq Middle East Resilience & Society Security & Defense

Fri, Oct 30, 2020

Evaluating Iraq’s new White Paper on economic reform

Online Event The Iraqi government’s 95-page White Paper was formally approved by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s cabinet on October 13. With more than 200 actionable reform measures, the document offers an ambitious three-year plan for how Iraq’s financial predicament can be reversed. 

12:00pm Economy & Business Energy & Environment Iraq Middle East

Fri, Aug 21, 2020

A conversation with H.E. Ali Allawi and H.E. Fuad Hussein

Public Event ONLINE EVENT – H.E. Ali Allawi, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance and H.E. Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs, discuss bilateral relations as part of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s first visit to Washington since assuming office in May.

11:30am ONLINE EVENT Economy & Business Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Tue, Jun 9, 2020

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

Public Event 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.

1:00pm ONLINE EVENT Iraq Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, May 14, 2020

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

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

3:00pm ONLINE EVENT Energy & Environment Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Apr 29, 2020

What’s next for US-Iraq relations?

Public Event 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.

10:30am ONLINE EVENT Iraq

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

US-Iran tensions ratchet up in Iraq

Public Event 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.

12:30pm ONLINE EVENT Crisis Management Iran Iraq Security & Defense

Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Roundtable with Iraqi MP Sarkwat Shamsulddin

Private Event 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 Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense

Thu, Jan 9, 2020

US-Iran tensions rising with Iraq in the middle

Public Event 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 Conflict Economic Sanctions Iran Iraq

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 Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Fri, Nov 1, 2019

Iraq’s political and energy outlook

Public Event 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 Energy & Environment Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Oct 2, 2019

Roundtable with Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih Al-Fayyadh

Private Event 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 Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense

Tue, Sep 10, 2019

A conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen

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

12:00pm Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Security & Defense

Tue, Aug 6, 2019

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

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

12:00pm Iraq Middle East Politics & Diplomacy Resilience & Society

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
mickmulroy

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

Thu, Sep 16, 2021

Iran’s environmental woes could be Raisi’s Achilles heel

Among the challenges encountered by the Islamic Republic of Iran, climate change looms as one of the most serious, disrupting, and even life-threatening issues facing both rural and urban populations. This threat has worsened at a time when Iran is politically polarized, ideologically fractured, and economically embattled.  

IranSource by Javad Heiran-Nia and Mahmood Monshipouri

Energy & Environment Iran

Wed, Sep 8, 2021

Iran’s new president has blood on his hands

Iran’s new President, Ebrahim Raisi, played a key role in the execution of some 5,000 political prisoners and was part of the “Death Commission” responsible for the 1988 massacre.

IranSource by Nasser Mohajer and Kaveh Yazdani

Human Rights Iran

Tue, Sep 7, 2021

Slavin quoted in Tehran Times on the American view of the Iran deal

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economic Sanctions Iran

Tue, Sep 7, 2021

The global war on terrorism wrecked relations with Iran

The most fundamental strategic error of the George W. Bush administration following the September 11, 2001, attacks was launching a “Global War on Terrorism” that failed to distinguish properly between those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and other US adversaries.

Article by Barbara Slavin

Iran Middle East

Sat, Sep 4, 2021

Slavin joins Al Hurra to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and Vienna negotiations

In the News by Atlantic Council

Arabic Economic Sanctions

Thu, Sep 2, 2021

Al-Masri quoted in the Times on recent Syria clashes

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Crisis Management

Wed, Sep 1, 2021

An escalating Israel-Iran conflict could sink the JCPOA

Rising tensions between Israel and Iran have reached an alarming stage in recent weeks. What used to be a shadow war of covert operations, sabotage, and proxy conflict is turning into a more direct military confrontation between the long-time regional adversaries.

IranSource by Sina Azodi and Mohsen Solhdoost

Iran Israel

Fri, Aug 27, 2021

Cohen quoted in Jewish News Syndicate on Iran taking advantage of lax enforcement of US sanctions to export fuel

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economic Sanctions Economy & Business

Tue, Aug 24, 2021

Iran’s new face to the world—Hossein Amir-Abdollahian—is no Zarif

In short, unlike his predecessor who was distrusted and often marginalized by the IRGC, one should expect more collaboration between what Zarif dubbed “diplomacy and the battlefield.”

IranSource by Sina Azodi

Iran Middle East

Fri, Aug 20, 2021

Iran spent years preparing for a Taliban victory. It may still get stung.

Iran’s relatively sanguine stance toward the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan demonstrates, above all, the strides Tehran has made in improving its relations with the armed insurgent network that was once considered a mortal enemy of the Islamic Republic. 

IranSource by Borzou Daragahi

Afghanistan Iran