With various agendas up his sleeve, Iraqi PM to embark on first visit to Washington

With various agendas up his sleeve, Iraqi PM to embark on first visit to Washington

Shafaq News / Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, is poised to embark on a significant diplomatic journey as he prepares for a pivotal meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington on April 15th.

This high-level encounter marks a crucial crossroad in bilateral relations between Iraq and the US. It signifies Prime Minister Al-Sudani's inaugural visit to the United States since assuming office in October 2022, highlighting the importance of this engagement in shaping a new era of cooperation and partnership between the two nations.

The White House announced, "On April 15th, President Joe Biden will welcome the Iraqi Prime Minister to the White House to coordinate on shared priorities and strengthen the robust bilateral partnership between the US and Iraq."

"They will reaffirm their commitment to the Strategic Framework Agreement and work towards deepening their shared vision for a secure, sovereign, prosperous, and fully integrated Iraq in the broader region."

The statement highlighted that "President Biden and Prime Minister Al-Sudani will consult on a range of issues during the visit, including the shared commitment to the enduring defeat of ISIS and the evolution of the military mission after nearly a decade since the formation of the successful Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

Additionally, "they will discuss ongoing Iraqi financial reforms to enhance economic development and progress towards Iraq's energy independence and modernization."


In this context, Iraqi Parliament Foreign Relations Committee member, Amer Al-Fayez, affirmed the significance of the visit in delineating the bilateral relations between Iraq and the United States, particularly amidst Iraq's call for the withdrawal of foreign forces.

Al-Fayez emphasized, "The US has shared interests with Iraq, and for the sake of safeguarding its interests, it will pursue bilateral agreements. The US aims to uphold its interests after its troop withdrawal from Iraq. Through the bilateral understandings and treaties to be negotiated with Al-Sudani, this objective can be maintained, aiding in the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq."

He further stated, "While the Gaza issue may be addressed during the visit, it will not be the focal point. The primary aim is to enhance bilateral relations and chart a course between Iraq and the US. When Iraq decided to remove foreign forces, it reaffirmed its sovereignty."


Dr. Abbas Al-Jubouri, Director of Al-Rafid Center for Media and Strategic Studies, stated, "The visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister to the US holds various dimensions. It marks the Prime Minister's first visit since assuming office, and it will address several important and challenging issues."

Al-Jubouri clarified to Shafaq News Agency that "one of these issues is the presence of American troops in Iraq and determining a withdrawal timeline, as outlined by the committee formed about a month ago. Discussions will also encompass Iraqi funds deposited in the US Federal Reserve, along with bilateral relations, economic and trade exchanges."

"Additionally, there will be sessions for negotiations and the signing of several protocols between the Iraqi and US governments regarding oil extraction, investment, as well as vital and strategic projects."


Abdulsalam Barwari, a Kurdish politician and former member of the Kurdistan Parliament, emphasized the significance of the Iraqi Prime Minister's visit to the United States amidst current circumstances, highlighting the importance of understanding how to deal with pressures to withdraw US forces on one hand, and Iranian pressures on the other, while the US expresses a desire to contribute to the Iraqi economy.

Barwari elaborated That "the visit theoretically holds promise, but practically, the Prime Minister - and for the past three government heads - does not represent a significant bloc within the parliament, lacking influence among the parties tasked with forming the government."

He clarified, "These parties will demand stances that align with their loyalties and agendas. Therefore, there should be no blame on the Prime Minister if he fails to achieve significant results for Iraq. Nevertheless, it is an important visit and a positive signal from the US that the Iraqi government is a friend."

He indicated that "the visit will reaffirm - as customary - the continuation of dialogues and meetings, the commitment of the United States to Iraq's security and its assistance in combating terrorism, as well as the US efforts for a strong Iraqi government to aid its citizens and fulfill their aspirations. Discussions will also touch upon the presence of American forces and the necessity of ongoing dialogue, the plight of the Iraqi dinar, US measures, and sanctions against certain banks."

The bilateral relationship between Iraq and the United States is multifaceted, reflecting a complex history marked by significant shifts and evolving dynamics. Since the 2003 US-led invasion that resulted in the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, the relationship has traversed various phases characterized by both cooperation and challenges.

There has been a notable transition towards cooperation in recent years, particularly in critical areas such as security, counterterrorism, and economic development.

Economically, the US remains an influential partner for Iraq, with trade and investment playing pivotal roles in bilateral ties. Additionally, American assistance in infrastructure development, healthcare, and education highlights the depth of engagement between the two nations.

However, challenges persist, including issues related to Iraqi sovereignty, the presence of US military forces, and divergent foreign policy agendas. Domestic political dynamics in both countries further influence the trajectory of the relationship.

Notwithstanding occasional tensions and divergences, Iraq and the United States continue to engage in diplomatic dialogue and cooperation, aiming to address shared challenges while managing differences effectively.

This nuanced approach reflects the complexity of their relationship and the ongoing efforts to foster mutual understanding and collaboration.

Observers maintain that the United States stands as Iraq's foremost strategic ally. Hence, there is a national interest in solidifying ties with the US. However, this necessitates clearly defined terms to avert ambiguity that might lead to deviations from stated positions.

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