Overall I remain optimistic about Iraq’s trajectory. Iraq’s politics – although complex and occasionally frustrating – have shown resilience and an ability to develop consensus through dialogue and debate. There have been tensions within Government recently and also between Baghdad and Erbil. But the parties are talking fully aware of what is at stake.
Neighbours also have an important role to play. Stability in Iraq is security for Saudi Arabia, for Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey and indeed for Iran. Prosperity in Iraq means growing opportunities for them too. Only those who see Iraq as subordinate to their own national or narrow sectional interests would not want this.
The politics of the next few years will be demanding. And people may wonder whether what they want is happening quickly enough. But the rewards for success are enormous. So are people’s expectations. They want a government that represents them all, that will restore Iraq to its position as a major and respected regional actor, a developed economy, based on oil and gas, that allows its citizens to develop their skills and capacities and that provides security, jobs, services, a decent life for themselves and their families and a better future for their children.
Competition between the different branches of government will continue to be significant but will slow not stop Iraq’s development. Competition for power, influence and resources are at the heart of any political system - the British or American adversarial system as much as the more consensual systems of continental Europe. But it needs to be regulated by rules to which everyone subscribes and needs to produce fair outcomes that serve national not sectional interests.