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Iraq: monthly report April 2024

The month of April was characterized by the week-long visit of an Iraqi delegation to Washington, attended by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Tamim, as well as the Ministers of Oil, Finance, Trade, and Electricity, along with the Central Bank President. This was the Iraqi Prime Minister's first visit to the United States since taking office in 2020. His first meeting was with President Joe Biden. The two leaders discussed expanding the collaboration between Iraq and the U.S. beyond the existing military alliance and emphasized the significance of dialogue during such a critical time for the region. Al-Sudani noted that the fight against ISIS has been crucial in strengthening the partnership between the two countries, despite Baghdad's recent request to withdraw from the international coalition against Daesh. The leaders discussed ways to revive economic and energy cooperation, specifically focusing on Iraq's efforts towards energy independence, resuming oil exports to Turkey, and developing the Development Road project with Gulf countries. The Iraqi Prime Minister also met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. During their discussion, Al-Sudani reiterated that the strategic agreement with Washington serves as a roadmap for the future of relations between the two countries. Finally, the Prime Minister met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who announced the launch of the Higher Coordination Committee (HCC), an Iraqi-American partnership to assess Iraq's military readiness and the risks posed by ISIS in the region. Blinken also met with the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister. He emphasized that the U.S. do not seek escalation in the Middle East and urged Iraq not to fuel hostilities with Tehran. However, Blinken also reaffirmed Washington's commitment to ensuring the security of its personnel in the region and its support for Israel's defense.

In this context, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced an agreement with the United States to purchase 41 combat aircraft. According to a statement from the ministry, payment for the jets will be made through a 'flexible plan' over the coming years. Following the agreement, an Iraqi delegation visited General Dynamics, one of the leading U.S. companies in military hardware production. Despite ongoing tensions, particularly related to the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, Prime Minister Al-Sudani's visit appears to signal Baghdad's intention to embark on a new phase of relations with Washington, covering sectors beyond security.

Download the April 2024 report

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