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Navigating Stormy Weather: Dissecting the European and U.S. Contribution to Security and Stability in Iraq
An ongoing governmental and political crisis, spiraling U.S.-Iranian tensions executed on Iraqi soil, the coronavirus pandemic, and the resurgence of so-called ISIS: 2020 has proven very challenging for Iraqi security politics so far. With the mass protests shining a light on the role of international actors, the dissolving situation quickly incubated a discussion on the nature of international military and wider security support in Iraq. Both the European Union (EU) and U.S. forces have been maintaining presences in the region focusing on combatting ISIS, however, skepticism towards foreign troop presence and Iranian influence inside Iraq grows, and the questions of Iraq’s sovereignty come to the forefront. Hence, the international community is looking for new approaches to balancing the Iraqi needs for territorial integrity taking into account the independence of decision and non-interference in internal affairs on the one hand and protecting multilateral geopolitical interests on the other hand.

In this Seminar we stress the Iraqi perspective on European and U.S. security engagement in Iraq. The question at stake: What does Iraq need from its European and U.S. allies to succeed in protecting its people and securing its territorial integrity? How can Europe and the United States continue to contribute to the capacity building of the Iraqi security sector? On an international level, what are the common interests that would allow for a wider strategic Baghdad-Brussels-Washington partnership to ensure security, stability, and a geopolitical balance? Lastly, what could be the EU's input to the region—especially in light of the prospective results of the current U.S.-Iraqi strategic dialogue? Is Brussels prepared to take on greater responsibility?
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