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The End of the Iran Deal Could Destabilize Iraq

What U.S.–Iranian Rivalry Means for Baghdad

A member of the Iraqi army outside of Mosul, November 2016. Alaa al-Marjani / Reuters

On Sunday, Iraq held its first round of parliamentary elections since the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS). In a surprising result, the main victor was the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose Sairoon Alliance, a coalition between Sadr’s own party and the Iraqi Communist Party, defeated coalitions led by the incumbent prime minister and U.S. favorite, Haider al-Abadi (who finished third), and the Iranian-backed Hadi al-Ameri (who finished second).

Sadr’s victory comes as a relief to neither Iran nor the United States, both of which Sadr targeted in his populist electoral campaign, which promised, like that of every other party, to rid the country of corruption and foreign influence. Iran’s ally, Ameri, came in second, but his party is short on allies with which to form a government. And Abadi’s unexpectedly poor third-place finish was a disappointment to Washington, although there is still a

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