Iraq still hangs in the balance. The dramatic improvements in Iraqi security between 2007 and 2009 have produced important, but incomplete changes in the nation’s politics. These changes make it possible to imagine Iraq slowly muddling upward, building gradually toward a better future. But we must be constantly on guard against the considerable potential for Iraq to slip into all-out civil war. There are dozens of scenarios—from military coups, to official misconduct, to the assassination of one or two key leaders— that could spark such violence.
In Unfinished Business, a team of five experts from across the political spectrum analyze the situation in Iraq. They present a well-reasoned and feasible path for U.S. policy toward Baghdad—one that would give priority to preventing Iraq from slipping into civil war or becoming an aggressive state but that would also lead to a clear American goal: a new, strong, and prosperous ally in the Middle East.
Ultimately, the United States must condition the continuation of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship on the willingness of Iraqi political leaders to guide their country in the direction of greater stability, inclusivity, and effective governance.