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Iraq Is the Middle East’s New Power Broker

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12.08.2021

Last week, the Turkish news site Ahval reported that the Iraqi government invited Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a regional security summit that would also include Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and the European Union. Since then, other news outlets have reported that the guest list also includes the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Egypt. The meeting, which is scheduled for late August, is just the latest effort stretching back to 2019 on the part of Iraq’s leadership to be a constructive force in the Middle East.

This marks quite a change. Before domestic instability, violence, and corruption in the aftermath of the American invasion became the dominant storylines about Iraq, the media, analysts, and government officials in the United States focused on the country as a source of regional instability. Not without good reason, of course. Iraqis played a role in trying to overthrow King Hussein of Jordan in September 1970. A decade later, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein launched military operations that would become the Iran-Iraq War that lasted eight years and killed anywhere between one million to two million people. And then Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, declaring it Iraq’s 19th province.

Last week, the Turkish news site Ahval reported that the Iraqi government invited Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a regional security summit that would also include Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and the European Union. Since then, other news outlets have reported that the guest list also includes the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Egypt. The meeting, which is scheduled for late August, is just the latest effort stretching back to 2019 on the part of Iraq’s leadership to be a constructive force in the Middle East.

This marks quite a change. Before domestic instability, violence, and corruption in the aftermath of the American invasion became the dominant storylines about Iraq, the media, analysts, and government officials in the United States focused on the country as a source of regional instability. Not without good reason, of course. Iraqis played a role in trying to overthrow King Hussein of Jordan in September 1970. A decade later, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein launched military operations that would become the Iran-Iraq War that........

© Foreign Policy


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