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.
Despite minimal payoff from U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East last summer, Washington has nonetheless scored some diplomatic wins over the past year. But the gains Washington has made have now run into significant yet predictable headwinds, highlighting the difficulties facing Biden’s regional agenda.
The U.S. military commitment to the Middle East has long been a core principle of U.S. foreign policy, stemming from the conviction that it keeps the region from falling into chaos and that a retreat would embolden enemies there and around the world. But the world is changing, and so should U.S. policy toward the Middle East.