Iraq’s reaction to the popular uprising in Syria is mostly determined by the chaos its Shiite-led government believes would follow the sudden collapse of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. This Peace Brief outlines how Baghdad possesses limited ability to influence the course of events in Syria, but uses this to provide modest support to the Assad regime. This Peace Brief is part of a series examining the regional dimensions of Syria’s popular uprising.

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Summary

  • Iraq’s reaction to the popular uprising in Syria is mostly determined by the chaos its Shiite-led government believes would follow the sudden collapse of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
  • Baghdad possesses limited ability to influence the course of events in Syria, but is using this to provide modest support to the Assad regime.
  • The fractured and sectarian nature of Iraqi politics, however, militates against Baghdad developing a decisive position on the way forward in Syria.

About This Brief

This Peace Brief is part of a series examining the regional dimensions of Syria’s popular uprising. The Institute invited leading experts from the U.S. and across the Middle East to identify key vectors of influence Syria’s neighbors are bringing to bear on the conflict; to forecast how the on-going conflict in Syria will affect the delicate and volatile regional balance of power; and to examine how the Syrian opposition and the Syria regime are factoring in regional and cross-border dynamics.

The series was edited by USIP’s Steven Heydemann, Senior Adviser for Middle East Initiatives; and Scott Lasensky, a Senior Program Officer. Through this series, several related workshops and events held in September and October, and on-going programs that bring together experts, civil society figures and officials, the Institute aims to provide applied analysis and on-the-ground conflict management tools in support of political transitions across the Arab world.

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