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Abadi enlists neighbors to support unified Iraq

Iraq is shoring up political and economic relations with neighboring states to prepare for rebuilding after the defeat of the Islamic State.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (C) gestures during his visit in Kirkuk, Iraq, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed - RTSSANO

Amid fears of interference by neighboring countries in determining the future of Iraqi territory being liberated from the Islamic State (IS), Baghdad has launched an intensive diplomatic effort to improve and cement relations with states in the region.

The political map in Iraq in the post-IS era is yet to be shaped. Will Iraq remain unified based on a political system of partnership between the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds? Will the Sunni areas be granted some sort of autonomous rule similar to the Kurdistan Region model, or will the country head toward division and secession by Sunnis and Kurdish areas? Such fears prompted Baghdad to launch a diplomatic offensive to build strategic relations with neighboring states to deter them from taking actions supportive of the inclination toward separation and division in the liberated areas.

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