The western Iraqi governorate of Al-Anbar—home to border crossings with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria—holds great geopolitical importance. But this importance can also be described as a double-edged sword. Control over the area by any side which opposes improved relations between Iraq and the Arab world—and especially Saudi Arabia—would pose a threat to several neighboring states. This makes the governorate a priority for Arab governments in general, and Gulf leaders in particular.
Sunni, Kurdish ‘influence’ on Shiite politics
As Arab states eye Anbar, keen on preventing its fall into the hands of Iran and its Iraqi allies, Tehran aims at achieving influence in the overwhelmingly Sunni governorate. This is unfolding in the context of Anbar having since 2018 promoted itself as the capital of Sunni politics, similar to the positions of Najaf and Erbil in Shiite and Kurdish politics...
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