A NEW U.S. POLICY FOR IRAQ
Iraq today is not the country it was four years ago. Many of the key Iraqi faces are the same, but the country itself has endured a sustained period of domestic turmoil that has altered the dynamics of power, deepened domestic fissures, and eroded the sovereignty of the state.
If the United States is to restore some of its influence as a first step towards a sustained and mutually beneficial alliance with Iraq, it needs to become a credible partner again beyond the security sector. In policy terms, the Biden administration’s immediate focus will need to be on stabilizing the Iraqi economy and helping the country through elections. But more broadly, the United States needs to deepen its influence in Iraq from the bottom up and needs to reset U.S. ambitions.
In the past, the United States might have sought to fix both the political and financial crises through direct intervention. But the days of imperial policy are behind us. Washington is no longer in a position to dictate to Iraqi leaders. The legacy of the 2003 invasion, military withdrawal, disengagement, and, latterly, disinterest have robbed the United States of the credibility and influence it once had in the country.