Transnational Influence

Transnational influence has been a significant factor in the course Iraq has taken since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. With regional players vying for their share of a stake in the new Iraqi regime, along with those who seek to shape the nature and future of such a regime, Iraq continues to be pulled in oftentimes opposing directions by forces beyond its borders. With its own tenuous amalgam of religious, ethnic, sectarian and ideological components, competing external forces will undoubtedly play a major role in the balancing act, especially in light of the imminent departure of US troops from Iraqi soil. As Iraq enters a new post-occupation era beginning in 2012, its leaders will require continued efforts to manage competing internal forces on the backdrop of equally competitive external ones. Likewise, Iraq will need to define its place as a regional and international player in a dynamic arena which has come to include unprecedented protest movements across the Middle East.

Several external players have been especially influential in Iraq’s political and social fabric over the past decade. These players, some of the most notable being Iran and Al-Qaeda, are worthy of particular attention. They are also the cause of significant concern by US analysts for their potential ability to destabilize the nascent democracy and turn back the clock on progress made in recent years to form a working multifaceted political apparatus in Iraq, albeit fragile. Equally important is the tremendous impact that the nature of post-Saddam Iraq will have on regional politics, economically, politically, and socially.  Flanked by Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Kuwait, Iraq is an important geographic center separating and connecting countries with both shared and competing interests. This fact has been no less critical in regard to transnational influence in Iraq, as the country as often served as a battleground for regional power-plays.

Continue Reading: