A busy agenda characterizes the important visit that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi begins today to the American capital, and is expected to meet with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday evening, in addition to holding a new round of strategic dialogue between Washington and Baghdad that will start tomorrow, Wednesday.
The future of the US military presence in Iraq is the core of the visit files, which were considered by American experts to go beyond the two-state relations, to include important regional files, especially those related to the US-Iranian confrontation in Iraq and the Gulf region.
Al-Kazemi's visit to Washington comes weeks after an important visit to Tehran, during which he met with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, which garnered great attention in the American capital.
Withdrawal from Iraq
It is expected that the file of completing the withdrawal of the American forces - the number of 5,200 soldiers - from Iraq will top the agenda of the visit of Al-Kazemi and his accompanying delegation.
Commenting on that, Kenneth Katzman, an expert on Iraq and Iran affairs at the Congressional Research Service, told Al Jazeera Net that "the two parties agree to reduce Washington's forces in Iraq without announcing a complete US withdrawal."
For his part, Michael Rubin, an expert on Iraqi affairs at the American Enterprise Center, and a former official in the US Department of Defense (Pentagon), considered that "a complete withdrawal from Iraq is not the goal of the two countries at the present time."
Rubin added to Al-Jazeera Net that the most important question is: How can the two countries continue the partnership at a time when the challenges that Iraq faces today differ from those it faced before, when comprehensive negotiations and discussions were held between the two parties at this level about the future of their relations more than a decade ago. The time.
Michael Brigent, a researcher at the American Hudson Institute, took a more hardened stance towards the idea of a complete withdrawal of his country's forces from Iraq, and told Al-Jazeera Net that "the Al-Fateh bloc led by Hadi Al-Ameri and the leadership of the PMF militia loyal to Iran, wants to achieve this goal, and if the Americans are asked to leave and leave Iraq." The United States will leave Iraq on the brink of economic collapse. "
For his part, the military expert at the Center for the Near East and South Asia of the American National Defense University, David de Roch, ruled out that the meeting between Trump and Al-Kazimi would come out with an agreement on a complete withdrawal.
De Roche said, "There will be a statement of the conditions that must be met if there is a withdrawal, but as long as Iran is able to control the armed groups inside Iraq, it is possible that the United States will not be able to withdraw."
Kazemi's electoral fortunes
De Roch is likely that the meeting will strengthen Al-Kazemi's call for early elections, but he also expected that there will be strong American condemnation of "corruption, election fraud and Iranian interference in it."
Most American experts questioned Al-Kazemi's electoral fortunes, as Katzman believes that "the prime minister does not have a strong sectarian, tribal or partisan constituency in Iraq ... I do not think that a strategic dialogue with the United States will increase his chances of winning the upcoming elections."
But Katzman believes that "if the powerful Shiite factions cannot agree on the person of a new consensual prime minister after these elections, they may agree to Al-Kazemi and allow him to remain prime minister, but it will not be his decision, but rather the decision of the powerful factions."
Robin agrees with the previous proposal, asserting that “Al-Kazemi’s visit to Washington and his meeting with President Trump has nothing to do with his electoral fortunes. Simply, after there is an election date, Al-Kazemi must begin to achieve tangible results and achievements on the ground, because he has very little tangible success until Now, since his accession to the post of prime minister. "
The American experts agreed on the strength of Iranian influence on the electoral process inside Iraq, through its great support for the Shiite forces.
In the context, Brigent said, "Al-Kazemi calls for early elections, which are dominated by the coalition of parties loyal to Tehran, and he would not have allowed them to take place unless it was in their interest."
He added that "the United States and the international community should press for the adoption of a new election law, and most importantly, stripping the two influential Shiite Al-Fatah bloc and Al-Binaa Coalition of their eligibility to run in the elections, after the role they played in the killing campaign against the protesters."
For his part, de Roche warned that Washington had differences with Al-Kazemi because of "the release of Shiite militia members from detention camps last month, which severely shaken Washington's confidence in Al-Kazemi."
Represented US relations
Multiple reports indicated that Iraq and Al-Kazemi enjoy all that is required to bridge the gap between Washington and Tehran, as the Iraqi prime minister has lines of communication with the various conflicting capitals in the region, which Washington can benefit from during the visit.
But Katzman considered that "the Iranians do not trust al-Kazemi very much, because he moved against Shiite factions such as the Hezbollah Brigades, so it cannot be a bridge between Tehran and Washington."
While Michael Rubin - in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net - believes that "most Iraqi leaders focus on their own interests instead of focusing on playing a mediating role," noting that "Oman and Switzerland have always bridged this gap well, and therefore there is no need or desire for Iraq to Perform this role. "
Brigent believes that Al-Kazimi misled the Americans, and said, "He maintained a good relationship with American officials who believed that - as director of Iraqi intelligence, and because of his willingness to confront the threat of the Islamic State - he would also be ready to confront the Shiite factions linked to Tehran, in order to balance his positions as a consensual prime minister," But he began to lose his position within the Trump administration, due to being subjected to constant threats and intimidation by these factions.
The chances of bridging the gap between Tehran and Washington are diminishing, especially with Trump's pledge to resort to using what is known as the "snapback" mechanism to re-impose more sanctions on Iran.
De Roch asserts that "the Trump administration wants to remove all US forces from Iraq, but this will not happen if it means that we will have to return if the influence of ISIS escalates again, or if we hand over the entire country to Iran."
During a meeting with the US Institute of Peace a few days before Al-Kazemi’s visit, the Commander of the US Army’s Central Command, Kenneth McKenzie, affirmed that his country's military presence in Iraq "will change in coordination with the Iraqi government," adding that Al-Kazemi is likely to move in the right direction and the United States should support it.