March 22, 2017

Iraq PM visits White House amid debate over post-Mosul strategy

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: Al-Monitor

Journalist Laura Rozen

As Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visits Washington and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosts some 68 counterparts for a counter-Islamic State (IS) summit in Washington on March 22-23, a debate has emerged within the Trump administration about how invested it plans to be after the liberation of Mosul from IS, and how hard it should push on Iran to give space so Iraq can try to reintegrate its alienated Sunni population.

At issue is how to ensure that Sunni communities and territory liberated from IS do not become fertile ground once again for Sunni extremists, as they did in 2012-2014, after the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and after increasingly sectarian policies pursued by the Shiite-led Nouri al-Maliki government in Baghdad alienated Iraqi Sunni communities.

The debate within the Trump administration hinges on how involved the United States should be on the ground after the liberation of Mosul to ensure Iraq is able to sufficiently succeed as a state and reintegrate its Sunni communities, and how much Iranian influence needs to be pushed back to prevent Iraq’s failure as a state, said Nicholas Heras, a Middle East expert at the Center for a New American Security.

Read the full article at Al-Monitor.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...