As Iraq marks the 18th anniversary of the 2003 U.S.-led war that set in motion consequential changes, the country is eyeing what a Biden administration might bring while the country prepares for national elections in October. Meanwhile, His Holiness Pope Francis made a historic visit to Iraq earlier this month and injected much needed messages of hope, coexistence and peace into an environment dominated by frustrations with the pandemic and its financial consequences, public grievances with governance, continued U.S.-Iran tensions and attacks on coalition forces, and the ongoing threat of ISIS. 

On March 23, USIP held a discussion of key developments in Iraq and the outlook for U.S.-Iraq relations under the Biden administration. The panel shared their insights on the Pope’s first-ever visit to Iraq, examined the country’s current challenges, and explored areas where policymakers and the international community can support Iraq.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #WhatsNextIraq.

Speakers

Lise Grande, opening remarks 
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

Ambassador Matthew Tueller
Ambassador of the United States to Iraq 

Ambassador Fareed Yasseen 
Ambassador of Iraq to the United States

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States 

Sarhang Hamasaeed, moderator
Director, Middle East Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Latest Publications

In Nicaragua, Crackdown on Religious Actors Further Imperils Return Democracy

In Nicaragua, Crackdown on Religious Actors Further Imperils Return Democracy

Friday, October 7, 2022

By: Maria Antonia Montes ;  Savarni Sanka

In recent months, Nicaragua’s government has escalated its effort to silence dissent by waging a systematic campaign of repression against the Catholic Church. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo’s crackdown on clergy and church-affiliated organizations critical of their authoritarian regime not only threatens Nicaragua’s religious freedom but also erects significant roadblocks to the country’s return to peace and democracy.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceReligion

42 Months on, How Does Sudan’s Democracy Movement Endure?

42 Months on, How Does Sudan’s Democracy Movement Endure?

Thursday, October 6, 2022

By: Jawhara Kanu;  Jonathan Pinckney, Ph.D.

Three and a half years after Sudan’s military deposed the authoritarian ruler, Omar Bashir, in response to massive protests, the current military leadership and divisions among political factions are stalling a return to elected civilian government. This year has brought a deepening economic crisis and violent communal clashes — but also a new wave of nonviolent, grassroots campaigns for a return to democracy. As Sudanese democracy advocates and their international allies seek ways to press the military for that transition, all sides should note, and work to sustain, Sudan’s nonviolent civic action.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceNonviolent Action

Behavioral Science and Social Contact Peacemaking

Behavioral Science and Social Contact Peacemaking

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

By: Josh Martin;  Meghann Perez;  Ruben Grangaard

Although social contract theory—the idea that encountering someone with a different group identity can lead to greater understanding, empathy, and trust—has become a bedrock of most peacebuilding initiatives in recent decades, doubts remain about whether such initiatives prevent violence. This report provides practical insights and recommendations for improving peacebuilding efforts by more effectively factoring an understanding of human behavior into the design, implementation, and evaluation of social contact interventions.

Type: Peaceworks

Nonviolent Action

Xi Kicks Off Campaign for a Chinese Vision of Global Security

Xi Kicks Off Campaign for a Chinese Vision of Global Security

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

By: Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Alex Stephenson

Earlier this month Chinese leader Xi Jinping made his first foreign trip since the coronavirus outbreak, joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The summit was Xi’s first in-person opportunity to win support outside of China’s borders for his new Global Security Initiative (GSI), which he launched in April. While the GSI remains notional and somewhat vague, Xi is on the offensive, seeking to position his vision of a new global security architecture as an alternative to the Western-led security order. In an era of heightened strategic rivalry between Washington and Beijing, Xi’s GSI campaign could amount to yet another challenge to the U.S.-China relationship and the two countries’ ability to peacefully manage differences.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Is Russia Escalating to De-Escalate?

Is Russia Escalating to De-Escalate?

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

By: Mary Glantz, Ph.D.;  Mona Yacoubian

Vladimir Putin is under increased pressure as Russia continues to lose ground inside Ukraine. Faced with the prospect of stark losses — potentially leaving Russia in a worse position than before its February 24 invasion — Moscow may be embarked on an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy. By raising the specter of a nuclear confrontation twice in recent weeks, Putin may in fact be seeking a way out of his dilemma marked by Russia’s strategic failure in Ukraine. The coming weeks will be critical as Putin pursues nuclear brinksmanship — possibly even repositioning tactical nuclear weapons — while actually seeking an exit.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

View All Publications