In a region rife with seemingly unsolvable conflicts, one budding relationship is demonstrating that not all hope is lost in the Middle East: Once implacable enemies, Turkey and the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq are forging ever-closer political and economic ties, independent of the Iraqi central government in Baghdad. The Turkish-Iraqi Kurdish relationship is blossoming despite the failure of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “Kurdish initiative,” an effort to mend relations with Turkey’s domestic Kurdish minority, who account for some 20 percent of the Turkish population. The world’s largest ethnic group without an independent state of its own, […]

The Gulf region ranks among the most valuable and strategically important pieces of real estate in the world because of its abundance of oil and gas resources and its location at vital geographic crossroads for the world’s security and economy. And until viable alternative energy resources emerge to sufficiently fuel the global economy, the Gulf region will continue to be one of the most strategically contested regions of the world for years to come. In large part due to this strategic importance, the Gulf has been wrought with instability for decades, plagued by both conflict between states in the region […]

article card

In late-May, Iraq sent its first ambassador to Kuwait since the outbreak of the First Gulf War. In an e-mail interview, Ahmed Ali, a research associate at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, discusses the historical context and current state of Iraq-Kuwait relations. WPR: What are some of the unresolved issues in Iraq-Kuwait relations? Ahmed Ali: There are two sets of unresolved issues between Iraq and Kuwait — tangible and intangible. They are closely related and are sources of continuous friction between the two countries. Additionally, they have the ability to feed off of each other and as a […]

Iraq is moving toward a resolution of the messy political jockeying that followed its March 7 parliamentary elections. But despite some surprises, and the torturous process itself, the likely outcome remains a continuation of the status quo ante. The previous government was dominated by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the so-called Quartet Coalition, formed in 2007 after the collapse of Maliki’s initial coalition. It included Maliki’s own Shiite Islamist Dawa Party, rival Shiite Islamist party the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), and the two main Kurdish parties. Sunnis and secular Shiites were in the opposition. Shiite and Kurd leaders […]