Iraq Maintains Neutrality in Regional Conflicts

Meanwhile, Iraq accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism in the country, citing the presence of Saudi members of IS. Tense relations with Saudi Arabia could have been averted had Baghdad sent balanced messages through political and media channels about its desire for smooth relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Abadi should deal publicly and explicitly with the negative aspects of relations with both countries, which share long borders and historical and cultural ties with Iraq. Iraq has an urgent need to have good foreign relations, especially with regional states. It also needs to demonstrate its ability to formulate independent decisions, which Abadi did during his Washington visit.

It is still possible for Iraq to carve out a role for itself as a valuable actor in the area through a balanced foreign policy allowing it to open dialogues with all parties and establish initiatives aimed at solving the regional crises. This can only be done, however, if the other countries in the area come to believe that Iraq is sufficiently stable and independent.

Abadi’s government has a long way to go in this direction and still has to take decisive steps to impose the national interest over partisan and personal endeavors, which have affected the country’s ability to produce an independent and balanced foreign policy.

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