About the program

The Atlantic Council is leading a long-term initiative on Iraq led by Dr. Abbas Kadhim. The Iraq Initiative seeks to provide US and European policymakers with unique perspectives from within Iraq as well as impartial, pragmatic policy recommendations. The Iraq Initiative addresses the current security challenges Iraq faces as well as identifies policies that will unlock Iraq’s potential to develop the drivers of any successful society: inclusive politics, economic development, and a vibrant civil society. It is critical that international conversation about Iraq moves from being solely focused on security and military engagement to broader policy issues such as attracting investment, improving governance and service delivery, and the country’s unique geopolitical role. The Iraq Initiative also works to develop relationships with Iraqi officials to bring them together with the right US and European policymakers and influencers to discuss how to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports


Advisory Committee

  • Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi, Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Middle East, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Ambassador Rend al-Rahim, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States
  • Mr. Stephen J. Hadley, Former US National Security Advisor
  • Mr. Majid Jafar, CEO, Crescent Petroleum
  • Ambassador Srood Najib, Former Head, Multilateral Department, Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dr. Meghan O’Sullivan, Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Kennedy School, Harvard University
  • General David Petraeus, Chairman, KKR Global Institute
  • Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie, Former Iraqi Ambassador to the United States

Past events

Thu, Nov 21, 2019

Roundtable with KRG Head of Foreign Relations Department Safeen Dizayee

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a private discussion with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s top diplomat to discuss recent events in Iraq.

10:00am Washington DC

Fri, Nov 1, 2019

Iraq’s political and energy outlook

On November 1, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative and Global Energy Center hosted an event on what’s next for Iraq amidst historic protests.

9:00am Washington DC

Wed, Oct 2, 2019

Roundtable with Iraqi National Security Adviser Falih Al-Fayyadh

The Iraq Initiative hosted Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Al-Fayyadh for a conversation about US-Iraq relations and efforts to integrate the militias into the armed forces.

4:00pm Washington DC

Tue, Sep 10, 2019

A conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen

The Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a conversation with Iraqi Ambassador Fareed Yasseen.


Tue, Aug 6, 2019

A view from Iraq: A conversation with Iraqi MP Sarkawt Shamsulddin

On August 6, the Atlantic Council Iraq Initiative hosted Iraqi Council of Representatives Member Sarkawt Shamsulddin for a public event.


Wed, Jun 26, 2019

Arab Barometer Polling Data Event

On June 26, the Hariri Center, in collaboration with Arab Barometer, held a public event to release Arab Barometer’s latest public opinion survey data from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Following their presentation, Arab Barometer experts Mark Tessler and Kathrin Thomas joined Iraq Initiative Director Abbas Kadhim and Nonresident Senior Fellow Faysal Itani for a panel […]

Event Recap by Atlantic Council

Iraq Middle East

Sat, Jun 1, 2019

Private Roundtable on Iraq with DASD Mick Mulroy

On May 7, the Iraq Initiative hosted Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Michael “Mick” Mulroy for a private, off-the-record discussion on Iraq. Middle East Programs Director William F. Wechsler moderated the conversation.

Insights & Impact by

Iraq Middle East

Fri, Jul 19, 2019

Private virtual roundtable with Al-Bayan Center on US-Iraq relations

On July 19, the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative hosted a roundtable with Al-Bayan Center, a think tank based in Baghdad. Iraq Initiative Director Dr. Abbas Kadhim moderated the conversation. The participants from Al-Bayan joined by videoconference.

Event Recap by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Energy & Environment

All content

Wed, Dec 4, 2019

Slavin joins the SETA Foundation to discuss Iran protests

In the News by Atlantic Council

Corruption Elections

Wed, Dec 4, 2019

Tavakol quoted in TRT World on trade between Iran and Europe

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Europe & Eurasia

Tue, Dec 3, 2019

New protests expose widening rift between Iran’s regime and ‘the people’

Whether one is navigating past truckers driving along country roads, visiting underground parties in the capital, or holding heated debates with members of different political persuasions in cafes or shared taxis, Iran doesn’t feel like a totalitarian dictatorship.  Forty years after a violent revolution that overturned a small Western-oriented elite, Iranians remain irrepressible and irreverent—as […]

IranSource by Borzou Daragahi

Digital Policy Iran

Mon, Dec 2, 2019

Protests challenge Iran’s future position in Iraq

Ongoing violent protests in Iraq have shaken the fragile stability of the country, as well as Iran’s carefully constructed geopolitical strategy for its neighbor and historic rival.

IranSource by Robert Czulda

Economy & Business Energy & Environment

Thu, Nov 28, 2019

Kadhim quoted in L’Orient Le Jour on corruption in Iraq

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Corruption

Wed, Nov 27, 2019

Tavakol joins Al Bawaba News Agency to discuss the Iranian economy

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economic Sanctions Economy & Business

Mon, Nov 25, 2019

Tavakol interviewed in TRT World on Iranian oil reliance

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economy & Business Iran

Mon, Nov 25, 2019

Tavakol joins TRT World to discuss the Iranian oil industry and economy

In the News by Atlantic Council

Economic Sanctions Economy & Business

Mon, Nov 25, 2019

Iranians endure internet shutdown with despair and disarray

On November 16, 2019, the Iranian government shut down the Internet throughout the country following a decision to triple the price of fuel overnight.

IranSource by Khosro Kalbasi

Digital Policy Economy & Business

Sat, Nov 23, 2019

Kadhim quoted in Politico on U.S. relations with Iraq and Iran

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Defense Policy