This article argues that a reemerging Iraqi Arab nationalism offers a chance for Iraqis to combat sectarian politics. Sectarianism, which Iran as well as various Sunni and Shi‘i Islamists have promoted in Iraq since 2003, ultimately created the instability and malcontent out of which ISIS emerged. Now that ISIS has been defeated on the battlefield, stakeholders should look to consolidate their military victories by transforming them into real political gains. The best way to do so is to build institutions and promote political identity based on the notion of an Arab Iraq.
This article is part of a special project conducted by the Foreign Policy Research Institute, titled: “After the Caliphate: Reassessing the Jihadi Threat and Stabilizing the Fertile Crescent,” which includes a book, a thematic issue of Orbis: FPRI’s Journal of World Affairs(Summer 2018), and a series of podcasts. Each element of the project can be found here: https://www.fpri.org/research/after-the-caliphate-project/.