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.


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 David Mack, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs
  • 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

Event Recap

Jun 26, 2019

Arab Barometer Polling Data Event

By Atlantic Council

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 […]

Iraq Middle East

Insights & Impact

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.

Iraq Middle East

Event Recap

Jul 19, 2019

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

By Atlantic Council

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.

Economy & Business Energy & Environment

All content


Feb 23, 2023

Iran’s ‘women, life, freedom’ revolution has a manifesto. Here are the next steps.

By Shadi Sadr

Signed by twenty organizations and released on February 13, the manifesto gathered the support of many civil society organizations in Iran.

Civil Society Iran


Feb 22, 2023

Iran’s economic future is uncertain. It’s no surprise why Raisi visited China.

By Jonathan Fulton

From February 14-16, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was in Beijing for his first foreign trip of the year and the first official visit to China for an Iranian leader in twenty years.

Iran Middle East

New Atlanticist

Feb 19, 2023

China-Iran relations are warming. Here’s what the rest of the world should know.

By Atlantic Council experts

While much of the world is focused on Chinese balloons violating US airspace, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi recently flew to Beijing to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

China Iran


Feb 15, 2023

Brett McGurk sets out the ‘Biden doctrine’ for the Middle East

By Atlantic Council

In a keynote speech at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Awards, the White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa explains the Biden administration’s strategy in the region.

Iran Iraq


Feb 9, 2023

Forty-four years of an Islamic Republic. Many now regret the 1979 revolution.

By Shahin Milani

While there are disagreements over many aspects of the 1979 revolution, most Iranians agree that the country is in a far worse situation because of it.

Iran Middle East


Feb 3, 2023

The Islamic Republic is on the path to committing a mass atrocity. The world should pay attention.

By Anthony Vance

The persistent and systematic nature of the Baha’i experience strongly suggests that it would be worthwhile to freshly examination the community’s vulnerability in the current context to determine whether this already beleaguered community is at increased risk of larger-scale abuses.

Human Rights Iran

New Atlanticist

Feb 2, 2023

What to make of the strikes in Iran? Watch these three indicators.

By Jonathan Panikoff

As more details about the attack emerge, the biggest unknown is how Iran views the impact of this incident and how it will respond.

Defense Technologies Drones

New Atlanticist

Jan 30, 2023

Experts react: What’s behind the drone strike on an Iranian military facility?

By Atlantic Council experts

We turned to our experts on Iran, Israel, and the region to help explain the dynamics at play—and what’s coming next.

Iran Israel

New Atlanticist

Jan 27, 2023

What will it take to deter Iran from targeting opponents inside the US?

By Atlantic Council experts

The US Department of Justice unsealed charges Friday in an alleged assassination plot directed by Iran against a US journalist. Our experts unpack the ongoing threat.

Human Rights Iran


Jan 24, 2023

Can Reza Pahlavi help unite the Iranian opposition? A hashtag is suggesting so.

By Arash Azizi

An Iranian journalist started the hashtag #You_Represent_Me, which was quickly picked up by thousands of other Iranians, inside and outside the country, who used it to declare their support for Reza Pahlavi.

Democratic Transitions Iran