What does Iraq want from the United States?

Ahmed Fouad Hasan

The relationship between Iraq and the United States of America is subject to a set of domestic, regional and international determinants which their complexity varies due to the variables surrounding each of these determinants. Under the conditions of speedy and successive variables which these determinants witness, Iraq aspires to cope with the new balances that will occur in the Middle East and what the United States wants from its allies of roles that fit to its strategic aspirations. This requires an internal political stability in Iraq and adopting a policy that is in consistent with the new regional reality which its features are being formed.

One of the most important internal determinants that stand against the Iraqi-American relations is what is related to achieving an internal stability in the midst of a clear political divide about the existence of the US military forces. The Parliament voted on the 5th of January 2020 on committing the government to work on ending the presence of any foreign forces on the Iraqi soil including the US military forces. Some supporters of the withdrawal of US forces have become manipulative about internal stability under the pretext of the presence of US military forces. This has led to rounds of strategic discussion between Baghdad and Washington, which ended with scheduling the withdrawal of the US military forces from Iraq by the end of 2021. This might result in an internal stability that would enable Iraq to play an effective regional role and help it to achieve its political and economic aspirations.

regarding the regional determinant, Iraq has made great progress in opening up to Arab and neighbouring countries and making important alliances, in addition to adopting mediation for the Saudi-Iranian dialogue, which is believed that any settlement between the two sides will reflect positively on Iraq in alleviating political tension internally and preventing resorting to military escalation against any party with a diplomatic presence in Iraq. Perhaps this will lead in the future to a breakthrough in the relations between the United States and Iran regarding the nuclear file and the economic sanctions.

The international determinant, which affects the nature of the Iraqi-American relations, is the preoccupation of the United States in its internal and international files in addition to its worry about the Chinese rise and the growth of its economic relations with the countries of Middle East, including Iraq, especially since there are internal political forces in Iraq which push towards strengthening the Iraqi-Chinese relations at the expense of the relations with the United States.

Based on the determinants mentioned above, the Iraqi interests can be summarized into four main aspects:

The first is in ending the presence of the US military forces, with the need of Iraq for the American intelligence capabilities to follow and confront the attempts of ISIS gangs to restore their activities and domination. The second interest is represented in strengthening the state and supporting the legitimacy of the political system through helping Iraq to play the regional role that prevents its transformation into a region for the interactions between the competing regional countries, and helps it making long term political and economic partnerships. The third interest is concentrated in helping Iraq implementing the economic reform, developing the activities of the private sector and encouraging the American companies investing in Iraq in areas of electric power, and waste gas investment and infrastructure.

The fourth interest is centered in restoring the cultural Iraqi belongings which were transferred illegally to the United States, and supporting Iraq’s efforts to enhance sectors of health and higher education.

Finally, the internal variables in Iraq remain the most influential in the nature of the Iraqi-US relations. If Iraq wants to achieve strategic partnership with the United States, it must move away from the policy