Invasion to ISIS

Iraq, State Weakness and Foreign Policy

Nussaibah Younis

A probing examination of how the foreign policy of this fragile polity has impacted decision-making and political outcomes in Iraq and beyond

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Invasion to ISIS Paperback
August 2018£25.00

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The foreign policies of the world’s weakest states tend to be dismissed as irrelevant. But it is these weakest states that often generate the world’s greatest challenges, including cross-border and civil wars, pandemics, and humanitarian disasters. It is only by understanding how weak states come to generate foreign policy that we can develop effective strategies for dealing with them.

Nussaibah Younis analyses post-invasion Iraq to develop the tools by which weak state foreign policy can be analysed and understood. Tracing Iraq’s relationships with major neighbouring countries and world powers in the twelve years since the US-led invasion, she shows how Baghdad’s evolving state weakness influenced its foreign policy behaviour. Her volume deals with the Arab World’s response to the invasion of Iraq and its fuelling of domestic militancy; it maps out Iran’s extensive involvement in the Iraqi civil war; it explores the tumultuous relationship between Ankara, Erbil and Iraq; and ends with an in-depth discussion of Iraq’s responses to the Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS.

The study is based on dozens of high profile interviews, including with the former Iraqi Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.


Nussaibah Younis is Senior Research Associate, Project on Middle East Democracy, Washington, DC. She studied at Oxford and later at Harvard.

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