U.S.- Iran Tensions: The Impact for Iraq and the Region
January, 21, 2020 – The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) hosted a panel discussion on Capitol Hill to discuss U.S. Iran tensions its impacts on Iraq and the greater region. As Iran has a heavy-handed influence in government formation in Iraq, the death of these leaders may divert attention from popular protests in Iraq and Lebanon and potentially unleash a chain reaction of retaliatory attacks in Iraq, the Middle East, and beyond.
The killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kataib Hezbollah and deputy chief of the PMF, changes options for U.S.-Iraqi relations, as well as for Iranian activities in Iraq. Although Iran’s response has thus far been limited to an attack on U.S. military bases in Iraq, these events are representative of serious security and political implications for the region.
The expert panel featured Sarhang Hamasaeed of United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Linda Robinson from the RAND Corporation as speakers, and the discussion was moderated by Curtis M. Silvers of Partnership for a Secure America (PSA). Together, we discussed the divergence of U.S.-Iraqi relations, government formation in Iraq, the situation of religious minorities, the status of ISIS, and the potential for continuing Iranian influence in Iraq. This off-the-record event drew an audience of over 100 attendees.