Fears of the collapse of the state are growing in Iraq as the Afghanistan debacle deepens, with each passing day revealing more details about the lack of detailed planning and foresight about the consequences of a U.S. pullout for Afghans.
A similar lack of attention to the crucial American role in influencing events in Iraq could result in a pitched struggle among the competing militias and factions there for control of political power and state resources. Simply put, Iraq’s stability risks becoming an afterthought for U.S. policymakers calibrating a global rebalancing, despite the enormous consequence of instability in Iraq for domestic and regional dynamics. Indeed, even a slight downgrade in America’s commitment to Baghdad could significantly shift the balance of power in favor of renegade nonstate actors, including the remnants of the Islamic State.
Hiwa Osman, a prominent Iraqi Kurdish analyst and one-time adviser to the Iraqi government, mused in an essay this week that President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan pullout speech could just as easily apply to Iraq.