A ray of hope
The defeat of Islamic State (IS) in northern and western Iraq, and restoration of federal-government control over disputed territories (including Kirkuk) in the aftermath of the KRG referendum on independence, have altered the mood of Baghdad politics significantly in recent months. There is a tangible new sense of Iraqi nationalism (among Arab Iraqis at least), a sentiment that has been bolstered by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s adroit management of the post-conflict environment. Rather than stoke domestic divisions, Abadi has sought to calm tempers and dampen some of Baghdad’s triumphalism vis-à-vis both Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds. He is also using his newfound prestige to attempt the reforms needed to win the peace, including renewed efforts to combat corruption.
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