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Shared aims could trump Turkey-Iran tensions in Iraq

Friday, July 21, 2017

Significance

Abadi is walking a difficult line between Turkish and Iranian allies, who fear each other’s intentions in Iraq. These tensions are focused on the post-Mosul era, which opens the way to a struggle for influence in Sunni areas previously held by IS.

Impacts

  • Differences between Tehran and Ankara over planned de-escalation zones in Syria could be a separate cause of tension.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s alliance with right-wing nationalists might pressure him to adopt a stronger anti-Iranian position.
  • Any rise in Iranian-Turkish tensions would empower hardline Shia militias in Iraq, making it harder for Abadi to justify their disbandment.
  • Renewed Sunni-Shia divisions in Iraq will hamper reconstruction and stabilisation efforts in Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Diwala provinces.
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