Washington is holding its collective breath—with good reason—as President Donald Trump embarks on his two-week foray across the Pacific. But as the Trump team pivots to Asia, it must not lose sight of the Middle East—and especially Iraq—where American engagement could prove decisive in ensuring that the defeat of the Islamic State group does not give way to more conflict.
Iraq should be enjoying a post-Islamic State group honeymoon. Instead, Kurdistan’s independence referendum plunged the country back into crisis. Baghdad responded by reasserting control over Kirkuk and other disputed areas and is now moving to do the same at vital border crossings with Turkey. As conflict with Baghdad looms, Kurdish politics have fallen into chaos.