The Middle East region has undergone many developments and transformations in its modern history, which have influenced international security and politics. Also, important events occurred in this region in the Post-Cold War era influencing the structure of power and security in the Middle East. Iraq’s occupation by the U.S. in 2003, fall of Saddam Hussein and regime change in Iraq all contributed to the shaping of a new round of interactions among regional actors, a new balance of power in the Middle East, and, in sum, a new picture of the region.

The Post-Saddam Iraq with its new identity and power structure has changed the geopolitics of region and approaches adopted by Middle-Eastern actors. The beginning of democratic state-nation building process in Iraq resulted in the increasing participation of Shia and Kurdish groups in power structure, despite their relative deprivations during the past decades, has led to a new situation with remarkable regional implications. The regional importance of development in the Post-Saddam Iraq is related to its various historical, social, political and security backgrounds as well as power structure and security in the Middle East.

Iraq with its mosaic social structure based on the presence of various ethnic groups constitutes a sample for the whole region. The lack of progress in the integration of these groups and the formation of a national identity has intensified tension and divergence among different factions. This has led to the creation of some kind of sympathy and common interests between most of the Iraq’s social groups and regional countries. For this reason, regional countries regard developments in Iraq with some sensitivities, considerations and concerns. During Saddam’s rule, Iraq always posed security and political challenges for the region and specially for its neighbors. Its aggressive foreign policy tarnished Iraq’s image among people and governments in the region. Besides, Iraq’s geopolitical and geoeconomics situation increases the importance of regional implications of its development.

Geographically, Iraq has common borders with major regional actors including Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Many analysts call Iraq “the heart of the Middle East”, due to its location in the center of the region. In addition to its geopolitical situation, Iraq with about 115 billion barrels oil reserves is the third largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia and Iran. Due to this fact, Iraq has a great role in the world energy market, OPEC and regional equations. These considerations have made Iraq an important country which should be regarded with special attention by regional countries. Among these regional countries, Iran has adopted a positive approach towards Iraq’s new political structure and has always supported restoring peace, security and national unity in the Post-Saddam Iraq. But most of Iraq’s neighboring countries are not happy with the new situation where Shias and Kurds came to power after winning the election. Iran hopes that with the collapse of the Baath regime and the emergence of a democratic structure in Iraq, this country does not any longer pose a threat against it and can be instrumental in enhancing security, stability and development in the region. However, the post-Saddam Iraq also poses some threats (although perhaps transitory) against Iran because of insecurity, ethnic violence, increasing extremism and presence of U.S. forces.

Turkey as a major regional actor does not evaluate the post-Saddam developments in line with its interests. Despite posing some threats against regional countries, the Baath regime repressed Kurdish separatist groups to safeguard Iraq’s territorial integrity. Also, Turkey’s economic relations with Iraq were regarded positive for Turkey’s national security. But, the post-Saddam Iraq characterized by Kurdish federalism in the Northern Iraq and providing a base for Turkey’s separatist Kurd (P.K.K), poses serious challenges against Turkey’s national security. This issue has even had negative on Turkey’s relations with the U.S. and Israel. Most Arab states evaluate that the fall of Saddam has led to weakening Iraq’s Arab identity, declining Sunni Arabs’ influence, increasing Shias’ role and tilting regional balance of power towards Iran’s and Shias. Therefore, while adopting a negative and hostile attitude towards the new Iraqi government, they have been waiting for the failure at least the slower pace of state and nation – building process in Iraq. Although, the Baath regime had, in many instances, aggressive behavior towards Arab states, it does not seem that they prefer an Iraq dominated by Shias to an Iraq which acted as a balancer or a buffer states against Iran for several past decades.

It seems that among regional actors, Israel has benefited more than any other actors from the collapse of the Baath regime and developments in the Post-Saddam- Iraq. The Baath regime, although with an instrumentalist approach. Claimed the leadership of the Arab world and was hostile to Israel. Out of the aims of U.S. attack on Iraqi in 2003 was enhancing Israel’s security. But, opportunities created by developments in the Post-Saddam Iraq are of greater dimensions for Israel. The possibility of the formation of a government with more moderate foreign policy orientations towards Iraq’s Kurdistan which could be conducive to Israeli activities there as well as the prospect of the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the Northern Iraq as a new ally for Israel are favored by the U.S and Israel politicians. However, there is still much ambiguity about the future of Iraq in Israel and the new situation in Iraq might have some threats for Israel as well.

Given the importance of the post-Saddam Iraq’s developments and their regional implications, the present compilation discusses the approaches taken by regional actors towards these developments and related issues.

Since the attitudes of Iraqi political groups towards the foreign actors involved in Iraq’s politics are of great importance, the first article studies the attitudes taken by Kurs, Arab Sunnis and Shias towards the U.S and Iraq. The author first studies the position of each group from a sociological point of view and then evaluates their stance towards regional countries and the U.S. Also, the article addresses interaction between Iran and the U.S as well as their negotiations in Baghdad as viewed by Iraqi political groups.

The second article discusses Turkey’s policy towards the post-Saddam Iraq and its related variables. Turkey’s concerns about the possible establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, divergent in tersest of Turkey and the U.S in Iraq, Turkey’s territorial claims to the Northern Iraq, Turkey’s support of Turkmen minority in this region and Turkey’s concerns about rising Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq are among the topics discussed in the article. Since Saudi Arabia is considered the most important Iraq’s Arab neighbor and enjoys a special place and role in the Arab World, the third article studies Saudi’s approach towards the post-Saddam Iraq.

While emphasizing the multi-layered and complicated relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Saudis’ negative stance towards the new situation in Iraq, the author addresses various considerations including changes in power structure and governance in Iraq, regional balance of power and Iran’s role in it as well as Saudis’ attitude toward the U.S goals in Iraq and in the region as a whole. The fourth article discusses Israel’s behavior towards Iraq in recent times. The author mentions the major U.S goals in attacking Iraq to protect Israel’s security and to enhance its regional position and those studies opportunities and threats resulted from recent developments in Iraq for Israel. The opportunities include the fall of Saddam’s regime as the supporter of Intifada, possibility of normalizing relations and removal of Iraq’s military threat. The involved threats are boosting Iran’s regional role and intensifying anti-Israeli sentiments in the region. The fifth article addresses the issue of relations between Iraq and Persian Gulf states. The author examines approaches taken by Kuwait, Qatar and UAE towards developments in the post-Saddam Iraq. Their support of the U.S attack on Iraq, due to their security concerns about Saddam’s behavior as well as new challenges facing them including change in the regional balance of power in furor of Iran are the main topics discussed in the article.

The sixth article discusses relations between Jordan and the post-Saddam Iraq. The author studies strong ties between Jordan and Iraq in Saddam’s era, Jordan’s cooperation with the U.S., fear of spreading instability to Jordan, Jordan’s economic vulnerabilities in light of the new situation in Iraq and finally, Jordan’s concerns about Iran’s increasing regional influence in the post-Saddam era. The seventh article studies options facing Iraq in the new era. The author discusses the three main options facing the U.S in Iraq that are continuation of the current policy of using military forces, immediate and full withdrawal from Iraq and deployment of forces outside the cities. In the last article, developments in Iraq’s Kurdistan are discussed. The main topics discussed in this article are: Kurdistan’s situation before Iraq’s occupation by coalition forces, prospects for the independence of Kurdistan, Kirkuk problem and the importance of its oil resources, the U.S. and Kurdish developments, regional actors and Kurdistan and finally, Iran and the Kurdish issue.


_ Introduction / Dr Mahmood Vaezi

_ Iraq’s Internal Groups Approach to Iran and the U.S. /Dr. Mahmood Vaezi

_ Turkish Policy towards the Post-Saddam Iraq /Dr. Rahman Ghahremanpoor

_ Saudi Arabia and the Post-Saddam Iraq / Ali Akbar Assadi

_ Israel and Iraq after Saddam / Salman Razavi

_ Iraq and Persian Gulf States /Jon B. Alterman / translated by Hamid Nikoo

_ Jordan and Iraq: between Cooperation and Crisis /Scott Lasensky / translated by Javad Heirannia

_ Iraq: Existing Options /Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Malaek

_ Developments in Iraqi Kurdistan and Actors, Interests (Round table)