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.
- 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.