Friday, December 26, 2008

What will our relations with Iraq be like under Obama?

Other than removing U.S. combat troops within 16 months, I cannot recall hearing anything about the intentions of the incoming administration of Barack Obama on relations between the U.S. and Iraq. Ultimately the question is whether the intention is for fully "normalized" relations. And then that begs the question of whether the intention is for truly friendly relations. Even if the "details" of relations with Iraq are intentionally be left to Hillary to sort out, there needs to be some high-level intention by the incoming president. Or, maybe, he honestly does not know and it all depends on how the government of Iraq evolves as the U.S. removes combat forces.

Part of the problem may be that the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby sees Iran as the deadlier concern and doesn't mind if Iraq sits there in a state of internal chaos for an extended period of time. That begs the question of intentions for relations with Iran, but we already know two things about intentions towards Iran: 1) there will be some form of "talks" after "preparations", and 2) absolutely no tolerance for advancement of Iran's so-called "nuclear ambitions", even as those ambitions continue to advance.

One thing we know about both Iraq and Iran is that both are experiencing severe pressure on their income from oil as the price of crude oil continues its steep decline. The impact on internal politics is going to be quite unpredictable.

Layering uncertain U.S. intentions on top of that internal uncertainty leaves the whole region a potential source for great volatility.

-- Jack Krupansky

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