When the American military presence in Iraq ended in December 2011, Washington and Baghdad claimed that Iraq was a stable, sustainable democracy. However, this appears questionable as Nuri al-Maliki, prime minister since 2006, has continued his quest to dominate the state and to use its power to break opposition to his rule,  leaving the country vulnerable to heightened sectarian tension and a new civil war.

When the American military presence in Iraq ended in December 2011, Washington and Baghdad claimed that Iraq was a stable, sustainable democracy. However, this appears questionable as Nuri al-Maliki, prime minister since 2006, has continued his quest to dominate the state and to use its power to break opposition to his rule. His systematic exclusion of key politicians from power underlines the failure of the 2010 elections to deliver representative government, and leaves the country vulnerable to heightened sectarian tension and a new civil war.

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US Indian Ocean strategy

The US is likely to use the region as a staging area for counter-terrorism efforts in and around the Persian Gulf, and as a secondary theatre in the country's deepening strategic competition with China.

US Afghanistan policy: regional aspects

Donald Trump's new 'Afghanistan and South Asia' policy identifies Pakistan and India as key players but ignores or minimises other influential regional actors with vested interests in Afghanistan.