I. A brief history of the political and diplomatic relations between the two countries and their stages of development
- A historical introduction to the relations: The first American consul in Baghdad, Mr. John Henry Heinz, was appointed on 10/8/1888 under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Later, the United States recognized the independence of Iraq, and the first American commission was established on 30/3/1931 and was headed by Mr. Alexander Sloane, then the diplomatic representation was raised to the level of an embassy on 12/28/1946.
- Stages of development of the relations: Following the 1967 war, diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed and the Interests Section was established in 1972. Later, diplomatic relations between them were resumed in 1984, but soon diplomatic relations were severed again in 1991, following the invasion of the State of Kuwait by the Saddam Hussein regime, where the United States led international efforts to liberate Kuwait in 1991 and imposed economic sanctions on Iraq according to resolutions issued by the United Nations Security Council during the nineties of the twentieth century.
- Relations after 2003: In 2003, the United States led an international military coalition that led to the change of the political regime and the occupation of Iraq on 9/4/2003, and with it a new phase began in the relations between the two countries that commenced with the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Civil Authority (CPA) to manage the affairs of Iraq. In 2004, sovereignty was transferred to the Iraqi Interim Government headed by Dr. Iyad Allawi, then the elected governments in Iraq followed at a time when the bilateral relations between the two countries took a more stable form, and witnessed positive developments that reflected a mutual awareness calling for the establishment of a long-term relationship of cooperation and friendship between the two countries that culminated in the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). And the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) in Baghdad on 11/17/2008, available at: https://uploads.mwp.mprod.getusinfo.com/uploads/sites/103/2023/01/se_sfa...
In addition to mutual diplomatic representation at the embassy level, Iraq has two general consulates in Detroit and Los Angeles, and the United States has a general consulate in Erbil and another one that is currently closed in Basra.
II. Areas of bilateral cooperation
- Cooperation in the field of combating terrorism: Since 2014, the United States has led a pivotal international coalition of 85 state and nonstate actors to defeat ISIS and sent military consultants to Iraq to provide logistical, intelligence and air support for the Iraqi security forces to ensure their preparedness to face terrorism. With the remarkable development in the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, the year 2022 witnessed a shift in the tasks of the international coalition and campaign to combat this entity, which culminated in the withdrawal of foreign combat forces from Iraq at the end of 2021 and the limiting of the role of foreign consultants and trainers of the Iraqi security forces, for more see the link below:
- Strategic dialogues and joint committee meetings: Starting in 2020, the two countries launched four rounds of strategic dialogue, in which joint statements were issued that aimed at activating the strategic framework agreement and areas of cooperation. They held several meetings of the Joint Higher Coordination Committee (HCC), the last of which was on 9/2/2023. To continue the rounds of strategic dialogue, the delegations of the two countries participated in a series of meetings and technical meetings that discussed issues of energy, climate change and investment, and they reached the following joint statement:
- Cooperation in the field of recovering Iraqi antiquities: continuous and fruitful coordination with the concerned US authorities with the aim of returning stolen and looted Iraqi antiquities to Iraq. These efforts resulted in the return of thousands of artifacts during the past years, including the “Dream of Gilgamesh” tablet.
- Economic cooperation: The two countries signed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2005, and most of the cooperation between them is in the field of energy, investments, infrastructure, and trade. Oil products occupy the first place in Iraqi exports to the United States, while US exports to Iraq focused on electronic products and chemical materials. The volume of trade exchange between them exceeds 8 billion dollars for the year 2022: