Strengthening Bilateral Relations: Iraq’s Path To Stability And Prosperity – OpEd


As the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed al-Sudani, prepares for his upcoming visit to the White House, the global spotlight turns to the evolving dynamics between Iraq and the United States. Against the backdrop of discussions surrounding the withdrawal of US forces in Iraq and the strengthening of bilateral ties, the visit presents a pivotal opportunity to underscore the burgeoning partnership between the two nations and highlight Iraq’s aspirations for economic growth and stability.

For years, Iraq has been synonymous with instability and conflict, dominating global headlines for all the wrong reasons. However, recent Gallup data paints a different picture, revealing a notable shift in perception among Iraqis regarding the trajectory of their country. Confidence in political and national institutions has surged, with a record-high 56% expressing trust in the national government—a remarkable feat in a region where such trust is scarce.

Prime Minister al-Sudani’s prioritization of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) underscores Iraq’s commitment to capitalizing on its newfound stability and infrastructure development. With a focus on fostering economic relationships, the visit to the White House should present an opportunity to solidify Iraq’s evolving partnership with the US, particularly in the realm of investment opportunities.

The visit also serves as a testament to the shifting dynamics between Baghdad and Washington, transitioning from predominantly security-focused cooperation to a broader economic partnership. Amid discussions on the withdrawal of US forces and the evolving Global Coalition framework, the visit underscores Iraq’s desire to bolster its economic ties with the US. 

As seen with the recent and tragic terror attack in Moscow,there is of course a need for continued cooperation in combating terrorism between the two countries, something understood by both parties.

Beyond security cooperation however, there are ample opportunities for Iraq-US collaboration in areas such as energy security, combatting corruption, and fostering investment. Strengthening economic ties can not only drive economic growth in Iraq but also enhance regional stability and security. 

Furthermore, collaboration in the energy sector can help Iraq diversify its economy away from its heavy reliance on oil and gas, contributing to long-term sustainable development. Moreover, joint efforts in combatting corruption can improve governance and create a more conducive environment for investment.

It is important to point out that Iraq’s burgeoning relations with neighboring countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, underscore its growing regional influence. 

As Baghdad solidifies its position as a stable regional player, the visit to the White House signals its commitment to fostering constructive relationships with key regional partners. Furthermore, Iraq’s strategic location and potential as a trade hub make it an attractive partner for regional economic cooperation initiatives. 

Strengthening ties with neighboring countries can contribute to greater economic integration in the region and enhance Iraq’s role as a key bridge between different regional actors.

Against the backdrop of recent US strikes in Baghdad and escalating tensions in the region, Prime Minister al-Sudani has been attempting to reaffirm Iraq’s commitment to stability and security. By engaging in complex discussions on the end of the US-led international military coalition in Iraq, Baghdad seeks to pave the way for bilateral relations that prioritize mutual interests and cooperation. 

Additionally, Iraq’s efforts to provide vital humanitarian aid to Gaza demonstrate its commitment to promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. By engaging in diplomatic efforts to address regional conflicts and promote dialogue, Iraq aims to position itself as a stabilizing force in the region.

The latest Gallup data underscores a notable shift in Iraqi perceptions, with nationwide increased confidence in political and national institutions. Prime Minister al-Sudani’s assertion that the international coalition is no longer needed reflects Iraq’s growing confidence in its ability to address internal security challenges. The surge in confidence among Iraqis reflects growing optimism about the country’s future and its ability to overcome such challenges.

Prime Minister al-Sudani’s visit to the White House represents a significant milestone in Iraq’s journey towards stability and prosperity. By prioritizing economic development and fostering stronger ties with the US, Iraq aims to leverage its newfound stability to attract foreign investment, drive economic growth, and enhance regional cooperation. 

As discussions unfold on the future of US-Iraq relations and the transition from security-focused cooperation to broader economic partnerships, the visit should offer a timely opportunity to reaffirm Iraq’s commitment to peace, stability, and progress in the region. 

Through diplomatic engagement, economic cooperation, and regional initiatives, Iraq is attempting to solidify its position as a key player in the Middle East and contribute to the region’s stability and prosperity for generations to come.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. X: @Dr_Rafizadeh

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