Hassan Talks U.S. 2020 Election with Iraqi TV Channel UTV

Media Coverage | November 06, 2020

On November 4, EWI's Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa program, Director Brussels Office Kawa Hassan gave an interview with Iraqi TV channel UTV to discuss the implications of the results of the U.S. 2020 election for the U.S.-Iraq relations.

Click here to watch the interview in Arabic. Read an English translation of his remarks, below.

Iraqi leaders, like the rest of the world, are watching the election results very closely. As a matter of fact, the world and Iraq are holding their breath as to who will win this existential election. Iraq was not a primary topic of discussion during the election campaign, and likely will not be a foreign policy priority regardless of who will be the next U.S. president—American policymakers are sick and tired of Iraqi political elites, who are accused of systemic corruption [by the Iraqi people] and lacking the political will needed to implement reforms. Incidentally, the U.S. helped the current Iraqi political class to come to power after overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 2003.

If Biden wins the election, his administration will be preoccupied with daunting internal challenges such as addressing the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, other strategic issues, dealing with the long-term impact of "Trumpism" and a deeply and dangerously polarized American society. So, Iraq will not be on the top list of Biden’s foreign policy. But Biden will continue to support Iraq in its war against ISIS and may deconflict the situation with Iran.

If Trump wins the election, we will see a continuation and even intensification of the so-called “maximum pressure” strategy and sanctions against Iran. This may lead to further conflicts between Iran and the U.S. and Iraq may well be the battleground for this war, which, in turn, will further destabilize the fragile security in Iraq. 

However, Iraq may again gain strategic importance for the U.S. should we see dramatic changes that affect American interests in the region, such as a strong ISIS resurgence or intensified conflict with Iran.