Through vigorous research resulting in the publication of issue briefs, roundtable discussions, and an annual report for each year of the project cumulating in a final report, the four-year Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative will:
- Analyze Iraq’s energy sector with a view toward value maximization. Iraq has been blessed with abundant oil and natural gas reserves. However, both management and resource allocation have been a subject of much discussion and conflict since Iraq has had to balance its export needs against local consumption. The question now would be how to maximize the value of these resources and efficiently manage revenues while addressing the challenge of the provision of basic services.
- Map Iraq’s political economy and create a strategy for the United States, its transatlantic partners, international financial institutions to help develop the country’s private sector. If properly coordinated, the international community could promote the Iraqi private sector and help to insulate it (wholly or in significant part) from the forces of corruption and crony capitalism, thus enabling it to counterbalance and overcome sectarian politics. A healthy private sector would dilute and decrease the power of corrupt government institutions. This area of study will also include assessing the potential for Iraqi empowered local governance and identifying ways the international community can insulate Iraq from its destabilizing neighbors.
- Chart a course toward building inclusive institutions. Both the public and private sector lack effective institutions to serve Iraqi citizens in effective, nonsectarian ways. Public institutions at the national level are rife with corruption. Civil society is, at best, a work in progress. Effective and accountable institutions in the public and private sectors will be key to Iraq’s unity and its political legitimacy.
- Examine post-ISIS security requirements. Building capable forces–military and police–to secure the country from foreign and domestic enemies is an inescapable task. In the end, little is achievable in terms of economic recovery and development or political legitimacy unless the basics of law and order–applied in ways that elevate justice and dignity–come into play.