Aug 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Iraqi PM invites Iranians, Saudis to regional summit

Mustafa al-Kadhimi during a summit with the leaders of Jordan and Egypt.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi during a summit with the leaders of Jordan and Egypt. Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is attempting to organize a summit at the end of August that could get his neighboring rivals around the same table for the first time in years.

The big picture: Stuck between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Iraqi government is trying to turn that difficult situation to its advantage and help reduce tensions and mediate regional understandings.

  • The initiative follows the attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker, comes amid increasing Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia, and with a new Iranian government taking office at a crucial moment for the 2015 nuclear deal.

Kadhimi’s initiative builds on the secret talks between Saudi and Iranian intelligence officials that began this spring in Baghdad.

  • Those talks focused on Yemen, but Kadhimi wants to broaden them to include more regional issues and upgrade the dialogue to the political level.

Driving the news: Earlier this week, Kadhimi sent invitations to Saudi King Salman, Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  • On Tuesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein visited Tehran and presented an invitation to President Ebrahim Raisi.
  • Kadhimi also extended an invitation to French President Emmanuel Macron, who accepted.

What’s next: The summit is expected to take place during the last week of August, though it's unclear if all of the leaders will attend.

Go deeper