Balancing Foreign Interests in Iraqi Kurdistan

Apr 12, 2016 | 03:26 GMT
In this handout picture obtained from the Turkish Presidential Press service Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) shakes hands with Prime Minister of Iraqs Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Nechervan Barzani (L) at the Dolmabahce in Istanbul, Turkey on December 26, 2015. / AFP / presidential press service / HAKAN GOKTEPE (Photo credit should read HAKAN GOKTEPE/AFP/Getty Images)
Kurdish Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani (L) met with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu (R), on Sunday to discuss various issues affecting Iraq. The Kurdish leader enjoys close ties with Turkey, much to the dismay of his political rivals.

The political battle raging in Baghdad over the appointment of new Cabinet ministers is merely a subset of an overarching regional competition. Late last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's surprise visit to Baghdad was meant to show Washington's continued involvement in building an Iraqi government that will focus sufficient attention on the fight against the Islamic State while maintaining some distance from Tehran. Even so, U.S. and Iraqi leaders are coming to terms with the United States' noticeably diminished presence in Baghdad as competing priorities pull Washington in other directions. That leaves Turkey as the primary Sunni power to counterbalance Iranian influence in Iraq....

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