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

Past events

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

ONLINE EVENT – US-Iran tensions ratchet up in Iraq

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

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Iranian new year begins with a growing coronavirus crisis

According to a Persian expression, “Springtime reveals what kind of a year we’d have,” meaning that should a year start well, it would continue and end well. If spring is unpleasant, however, one cannot hope for a good year.

IranSource by Mehrnaz Samimi

Coronavirus Iran

Wed, Mar 18, 2020

Slavin quoted in The Week on sanctions against Iran under coronavirus

In the News by Atlantic Council

Coronavirus Economic Sanctions

Tue, Mar 17, 2020

Slavin quoted in The Hill on coronavirus and rising US-Iran tensions

In the News by Atlantic Council

Coronavirus Iran

Tue, Mar 17, 2020

Slavin in the American Conservative: Throttled by US sanctions, Iran struggles with the coronavirus

In the News by Atlantic Council

Coronavirus Economic Sanctions

Tue, Mar 17, 2020

Idlib is a stress test for Iranian-Turkish relations

The killing of scores of Lebanese Hezbollah members amid Turkey’s ongoing military campaign against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and various pro-Assad forces on February 28 raises important questions about how the Idlib crisis will impact Tehran’s relationship with Ankara.

IranSource by Sina Azodi and Giorgio Cafiero

Iran Middle East

Mon, Mar 16, 2020

What the coronavirus emergency means for the US-Iran conflict

While the world is focused on the spread of a pandemic, the conflict between Iran and the United States is heating up. Without the laser-focused media attention of early January to temper the actions of both sides, we can expect to see riskier behavior and less concern for collateral damage.

New Atlanticist by Kirsten Fontenrose

Conflict Coronavirus

Mon, Mar 16, 2020

COVID-19: The latest shock to a battered Iranian system

How many shocks can a political system absorb and still remain in power?

IranSource by Barbara Slavin

Coronavirus Iran

Wed, Mar 11, 2020

Slavin quoted in South China Morning Post on the spread of coronavirus in Iran

In the News by Atlantic Council


Wed, Mar 11, 2020

How Iran’s new Quds Force commander could hurt the US in Afghanistan

A US-Taliban peace deal leaves the possibility of Iran-sponsored proxy groups such as the Fatemiyoun Brigade or Taliban breakaway factions to go after the downsized US troop presence or other American targets in Afghanistan.

IranSource by Obaidullah Obaid

Afghanistan Iran

Sun, Mar 8, 2020

Nia quoted in Elle (Italian) on women’s rights in Iran

In the News by Atlantic Council

Human Rights Iran