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
IranSource Sep 22, 2021
Iran ‘won’ the war with Iraq but at a heavy price
By Barbara Slavin, Abbas Kadhim
More than four decades after the beginning of a dreadful war that shaped the lives and worldview of a generation, Iraq and Iran seem to have put the past behind them and moved to a new relationship. But the road ahead is not without landmines. The balance of power is too lopsided in Iran’s favor to allow for a healthy alliance and Iran’s continued estrangement from the US makes Baghdad’s balancing act even trickier. The Iranians may be enjoying their triumphant short-term position, but the long-term consequences could be calamitous.
MENASource Aug 19, 2021
ISIS is defeated. What becomes of the ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ in Iraq?
By Heba Malik
In the aftermath of sanctions, three wars, and continued violence, Iraq’s infrastructure and established child services networks remain debilitated. The reintegration of child soldiers is an extensive and long-term project that demands more than Iraqi institutions can give.
MENASource Jul 26, 2021
An “illiterate generation”—one of Iraq’s untold pandemic stories
By Hezha Barzani
The devastating impacts of COVID-19, coupled with years of spillover effects of violent conflict and extremism, have already proved to be detrimental to students whose education and future career ambitions already receive limited attention.
Featured in-depth research & reports
In-Depth Research & Reports May 10, 2021
Europe needs to take a lead on Iraq
By Christian Koch
In a new report Dr. Christian Koch argues that Europe has already invested in Iraq’s stability and, going forward, should lead in policy areas demanding immediate and continued attention. Deliberate policy coordination and a European willingness to significantly increase its burden-sharing would be a tangible contribution to the Biden administration’s stated goal of rebuilding alliances and partnerships.
- 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