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Saudi King Salman, right, and Iraqi President Barham Salih. Saudi King Salman, right, and Iraqi President Barham Salih, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18, 2018 (Saudi Press Agency photo via AP Images).

How Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Counter Iranian Influence in Iraq

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi made his first trip to Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The visit was part of a broad effort by Saudi Arabia to counter the growing regional influence of its rival, Iran, by deepening political and economic ties with Iraq. For Iraq, too, a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia allows it to diversity its foreign policy. But the two neighbors’ efforts to mend fences will take time, and will need to overcome many tricky obstacles, says Elizabeth Dickinson, senior analyst for the Arabian Peninsula at the International Crisis Group. In an email interview, she discusses the political and economic factors pushing Saudi and Iraqi leaders to repair their ties, and the hurdles in their way.

World Politics Review: What factors have brought Iraq and Saudi Arabia closer together in recent years? How much of a role did the war against ISIS play? ...

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