Iraq’s Shifting Political Landscape and Foreign Policy Trajectories
Following the defeat of ISIS in late 2017, Iraq has entered a new era. A number of key internal and external factors will determine Iraq’s future in this new epoch and will have a significant bearing on the security and stability of the entire region.
Internally, Iraq has witnessed protests in a number of provinces; the most significant of these, beginning in the summer of 2018 in Basra, engulfed all of Iraq’s southern provinces as well as Baghdad. These events have sent a clear message to the country’s political class, indicating the potential for future unrest in the absence of meaningful political, economic and administrative reforms.
Following parliamentary elections in May 2018, internal conflict in Iraq has shifted from being sectarian and ethnic in nature to become political – including internally within the Shiite movement.
Externally, Iraqi–Arab/GCC rapprochement continues to face several challenges, while Iraq also remains subject to the fallout of the ongoing conflict between the US and Iran.
This paper seeks to analyze Iraq's current political landscape, identify any significant shifts and explore related developments and interactions in the context of regional and international policies. It also aims to provide stakeholders and policy makers in Iraq and the broader region with important insights to aid their understanding of Iraq's evolving internal political landscape and external relations, and their potential trajectories.