Country Reports

Iraq at a Crossroads: Reconfiguring the Role of the United Nations

This paper was inspired by a study visit of a high-ranking Iraqi delegation from Baghdad and Erbil to the United Nations and other institutions in New York in October 2017. This visit entitled “The future role of the United Nations in Iraq” was organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s New York office in cooperation with the foundation’s Syria/Iraq Office. The author of this publication, Ali Al-Mawlawi, was part of this delegation. Ali is Head of Research at the Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies in Baghdad (

Iraq’s relationship with the United Nations has endured much turbulence over the past 40 years. Since 2003, the UN has invested heavily in helping to bring about peace and security in the country. For 13 years during the sanctions period, Iraq was considered a pariah state that threatened international peace and security. Today, having emerged from a costly 4-years war with ISIS, Iraq stands at a crossroads and the international community - including the United Nations - needs to reconfigure its commitments to the country in order to consolidate recent gains. A critical evaluation of the UN’s interventions in Iraq needs to be undertaken to determine the best course of action moving forward. In doing so, it is important to look back at how the UN’s role in Iraq has evolved, and to take heed of the hurdles and shortfalls.

Iraq Delegation