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Iraqi PM visits White House

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Iraqi PM visits White House

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Photo: Official Presidential website/Handout via REUTERS

Today, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi will visit Washington as part of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, a recent initiative aiming to boost security, energy and economic cooperation between the two countries.

PM al-Kadhimi has been attempting to strike a balance between the US and Iran—both which have been using Iraq as a playing board for their proxy war—since coming to power in May. While he will refrain from picking a side, al-Kadhimi will likely seek a tighter relationship with the US, given the ongoing attacks by pro-Iran Shia militia on Iraqi security personnel and the need for Iraqi economic diversification away from Iranian markets.

For Washington—which has long viewed Iraq through the lens of counterterrorism and its “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran—the Strategic Dialogue is an opportunity to develop relations beyond military cooperation, especially in face of a possible US troop withdrawal from Iraq.

A crucial area of cooperation that will likely be addressed in today’s meeting is energy, as Iraq currently depends on Iran for both gas and electricity. Expect both Washington and Baghdad to encourage deeper ties with US allies in the Gulf, particularly via the advancement of the project linking Iraq to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s electricity grid.

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