The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers. Meanwhile, the region is rife with ongoing conflicts, and the long-simmering dispute between Israel and Palestine continues to flare up periodically.
Over the past two decades, Iran has used its political influence in Baghdad to consolidate a strong position in various sectors of Iraq’s economy. Now competition for investments in Iraq, and the economic influence that goes along with them, has become increasingly intense, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading the charge.
Though the Iran-Saudi Arabia normalization deal was mediated by China, Baghdad played an important role in pushing it across the finish line. That diplomatic initiative reflects Iraq’s broader efforts toward regional reintegration, which has been a key priority, not least because regional animosities often play out inside Iraq.