Study by: Erzsébet N. Rózsa.
The 2003 Iraq war and the “democracy-building” effort in its wake have initiated and/ or accelerated significant changes among Iraq’s immediate neighbours. Iraq’s ethnic and religious characteristics are the basis of a web of special relationships not only within the country, but in the larger region as well, reflecting the neighbours’ interests in Iraq, posing a threat and providing a possibility for interventions into Iraq’s domestic affairs. For the Arab world and Iraq’s Arab neighbours, the Arab character of Iraq is of a special significance, with cross-border terrorism emerging as a special new type of threat. Iran’s Iraq-policy is guided by the imperative of retaining its own sovereignty, internal and external stability on the one hand, and achieving the acknowledgement of its regional power status on the other. The policy of the Republic of Turkey towards Iraq has been characterized by a strategy of minimizing risks, while one—if not the most important— threat to Turkey has been posed by the Kurdish PKK (Partiya Karkaren Kurdistan) operating from the Iraqi border regions.