With a new man in the White House, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, appears to believe that Iraq can begin a completely new cycle of playing off the U.S. against China and Russia, as it has been doing since the first U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The game is very simple but nonetheless very effective: Baghdad sends a signal that it may move even closer to Iran or to Russia and China through various oil field awards or other contracts and the U.S. feels compelled to counter with the offer of more funding directly or indirectly through massive deals between U.S. firms and Iraqi ones. Iraq then takes the money and the contracts and continues to do what it was going to do anyway, which is to remain firmly on the side of neighbour Iran whose grip over the country is interwoven into its very fabric through political, […]