When asked what represented the greatest challenge for a statesman, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan replied: “Events, my dear boy, events”.
Fifty years later, the same thought must have gone through the mind of Nouri al-Maliki as he prepared to meet the Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah, in an historic meeting in Baghdad, just days after a gunfight at sea left a Kuwaiti coast guard dead and an Iraqi fishing vessel sunk.
But considering the 'history' between the two countries, and the continuing differences of opinion over reparations and border areas, the visit was potentially very significant and is expected to lead to a further improvement in the relationship between the two neighbours.
Iraq's internal challenges, including the return of Muqtada al-Sadr and his confrontational rhetoric, will also require al-Maliki's attention, but the increasing price of oil should at least give him more room for manoeuvre as regards expenditure.
Iraq is a complicated environment, and Upper Quartile and AAIB are the ideal partners to guide your business through the complexities of Iraqi life. For more information please contact Gavin Jones or Adrian Shaw.