The EU in post-2003 Iraq

Authored by: Maria Luisa Fantappie

Routledge Handbook of EU–Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367330767
eBook ISBN: 9780429317873
Adobe ISBN:


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The 2003 United States (US)-led invasion of Iraq caused rift and contention among EU Member States, dividing them among those who prioritised their strategic relation with the US and others who staunchly opposed the war. Today, with the unfolding competition between the US and Iran, EU relations with Iraq are yet another defining moment for both EU and Iraq’s foreign policy. This contest threatens the security of Iraq – where both the US and Iran have military assets – and risks destabilising the EU’s neighbourhood – where geopolitical rivalries in the Levant and the Gulf remain unresolved. The chapter investigates the mutual interest of the EU and Iraq in strengthening their partnership to enable a balanced foreign policy for Iraq and EU cohesive external action. Iraq-EU relations are paramount for Baghdad to carve out autonomous space of decision making in foreign affairs and emancipate its foreign policy from its long-standing dependency on the US and Iran. It also argues that Iraq is a privileged arena for the EU to consolidate its foreign and security policy and strategic autonomy in security and defence matters.

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