Six options for Washington to “reset its relationship” with Baghdad
Writer Rang Aladdin, in an analysis published on the website of the American Brookings Research Center, said that Washington and Baghdad have “an opportunity to reset their relationship” through the strategic dialogue scheduled for next month.
The writer said that these relations could be “beneficial and effective for the two parties” after tensions that were marred by the killing of the commander of the “Quds Force” in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Organization, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, in a US raid last January.
On April 7, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a “strategic dialogue” between the United States and Iraq to discuss the future of the relationship between the two countries.
The dialogue, which will be a series of meetings between top American and Iraqi officials, aims to put all aspects of the US-Iraqi relationship on the dialogue table.
The author, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Center, made six proposals that he said could help control the relationship between Iraq and the United States in the next phase.
The author proposes establishing long-term relations with some of the major components of the PMF, rather than demanding that Iraq be fully resolved, as he believes that the withdrawal of militias loyal to Shiite leader Ali al-Sistani from the crowd creates a “opportunity” for the United States to develop “closer” relations with these factions . Aladdin suggested working with Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi to provide military support and train these groups to shift the balance of power in their favor, in the interests of Washington, and he did not rule out that these factions develop their relationship with the United States directly or indirectly through Al-Kazemi.
Aladdin calls Washington not to expect Baghdad to rein in Iran’s proxies in Iraq, despite the decline in the influence of these militias due to its negative role in the recent demonstrations and the vacuum left by Soleimani and the engineer, but the army and Al-Kazemi will not be able to contain these factions as the Iraqi army will focus on fighting armed groups Containment of local disputes, and Al-Kazimi is still “fresh in his position and does not yet have a strong political base.”
Help with conditions
The analyst also suggests helping Al-Kazemi in matters of governance, but he believes that Washington should distance itself from the issue of the reconstruction of Iraq, because this matter will be “beneficial” for Iran, and it will be difficult to implement it in the “current political environment” given the influence of Tehran and the fact that Iraqi politicians do not They have consensus on critical domestic and foreign policy issues such as the question of the survival of US forces in Iraq, and instead suggests “near” goals such as supporting Iraq by establishing modern banking and financial infrastructure, continuing to extend exemptions from sanctions, and enabling Iraq to obtain IMF assistance And the World Bank, and debt restructuring, which can help to support the Iraqi economy and state-building projects in the long term.
The writer also stresses the importance of caring for other power centers that can control the fate of Al-Kazemi during the coming period, such as the Kurds, and suggests supporting them politically and supporting the stability of the Kurdistan region, where the United States enjoys a large presence there. Aladdin believes that the importance of empowering the Kurds also lies in the fact that Washington may need them if it is forced to withdraw from Iraq before securing its basic interests there.
The writer calls on the United States not to ignore its allies, referring to the Sunni factions and the Kurds, and he said that despite the differences that may emerge between Washington and its allies, Washington should avoid weakening their position and increasing the influence of their opponents, and suggests that Washington implement what Tehran does that considers the attack on Its allies are attacking it and mediating differences between them.
The new generation of Iraqi leaders
The writer called for establishing relationships with the new generation of Iraqi leaders, and empowering those who have the ability and the reformist mindset, including those who are currently in the government, and believes that enabling the existence of a political class with a reformist mindset will motivate those who wish to preserve the existing political system and those who seek to renew it completely To embrace a compromise.
The “Atlantic” Center for International Studies and Research in Washington had mentioned in a previous report on the future of relations between the two countries that the Iraqi government seeks to maintain a type of diplomatic and economic relations with the United States without angering its strong neighbor, Iran.
The institute’s report suggested that the United States should distance Iraq from the conflict between it and Iran by reducing the number of its forces and defining its role by fighting ISIS and training Iraqi forces.
He believes that Tehran should prevent its Iraqi agents from attacking American targets and give Al-Kazemi the opportunity.
A report by the Wall Street Journal said that Al-Kazemi’s mission enables the balance between two opposing powers , the United States and Iran, to keep Iraq “guided” away from the possibility of turning into a battleground between them. Source