The victory of the hardline camp’s candidate Ebrahim Raisi in Iran’s presidential election has drawn various reactions about the nature of Tehran’s potential role in Iraq due to the direct link between internal variables in Iran and the Iraqi landscape. So, what is the nature of Iran’s role in Iraq in the wake of Raisi’s rise to power? And how Tehran’s strategic priorities would be reevaluated? And what are the ramifications of all of this on the Iraqi landscape?
The stage that followed the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force (QF), the arm of its Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) early 2020 has shown a state of defect in the strategy of QF in Iraq. The notable feature of this defect was the failure of the new commander of QF Esmail Ghaani to fill the vacuum left by Soleimani’s absence. Moreover, new Iranian actors – who did not have strong presence during Soleimani’s era - have entered the Iraqi scene. In addition, the rise of other factors related to Iraqi Shiite actors has also complicated the strategy of QF in Iraq.
As the October 10th, 2021 date for Iraq's early parliamentary election winds down, several issues and developments continue to cast a shadow over the country's political trajectory and raise questions about the vote, its integrity, and possible outcomes. Among the most important of these issues is a chronic electricity crisis that worsens even more during the summer months, the fact that most civil and protest movement activists decided not to participate in the elections, and recent moves by the country's main political actors.
This paper seeks to show the geographic importance of the so-called “disputed territories” between Baghdad and Erbil and their role in shaping Iraq’s security landscape. The importance of these territories has recently increased, not only in the context of talking about ISIS ability to exploit circumstances and escalate attacks there, but also in the context of understanding the impact of the geopolitical shifts in these territories on the internal balance of power.
Tensions between the Iraqi government and the "Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)" continue to run high as systematic kidnappings and assassinations by the Iran-backed militia remain unabated. This has pushed grassroots to call for boycotting the vote similar to what happened before the 2018 elections against the wishes of government politicians and parliamentarians who continue to sound the alarm over any potential deferral of the elections. This paper attempts to anticipate future scenarios for the Iraqi elections based on the current situation in the country.
The Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI) faces a real challenge in preserving the existential benefits that it gained after the fall of the regime of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in April 2003, whereby the KRI became one of the poles of the ruling political system in Iraq. This time, the problems of the KRI are not a dispute with the central government in Baghdad as before, but rather a dispute between the two partners of the ruling regime in Kurdistan, namely the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by the family of the late President Jalal Talabani. This paper discusses the causes of the real dispute between the two parties and whether an administrative division is possible in the KRI authority.
Iraq today finds itself at a crossroads, beset by challenges and life-and-death decisions. The public protests that erupted in early October 2019 revealed a number of deep structural crises in the country, growing public resentment vis-à-vis the political elite, and an expanding rift between these political forces and the Iraqi street. They have ignited a conflict that has opened the door to all manner of possible future scenarios for the nation.
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.
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