The Iraq Effect: The Middle East after the Iraq War

Synopsis

No matter how the conflict in Iraq ends, its effects on the broader Middle East will be felt for decades to come, presenting new challenges and opportunities for U.S. policy. Drawing extensively from field interviews and local sources, this monograph explores the multiple dimensions of the Iraq War's regional impact to better prepare the United States to manage its long-term consequences. Among the authors' key findings are that the war has facilitated the rise of Iranian power in the region but with more limits than commonly acknowledged; weakened local confidence in U. S. credibility and thereby created new opportunities for Chinese and Russian involvement; entrenched and strengthened neighboring Arab regimes and, at the same time, diminished the momentum for political reform; and eroded al-Qa'ida's standing in the region, leading the network and its affiliates to adapt with new tactics and strategies.