Power-sharing will strengthen post-ISIS political order in Iraq and Libya


The new US administration isn´t going to invest the energy that´s needed to strengthen the post-ISIS political order in Iraq, analysts Hayder al-Khoei, Ellie Geranmayeh and Mattia Toaldo write for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). That´s why European states need to step in and promote representative and decentralized power-sharing, locally directed reconstruction, and security sector reform. In the case of Libya, economic leverage should be used to buttress up the UN-backed political agreement reached in 2015.


  • ISIS has suffered significant setbacks in both Iraq and Libya with the battles for Mosul and Sirte representing potential turning-points.
  • Without a clear political strategy to guide post-ISIS efforts, these military gains could quickly be lost. Both countries could again become breeding grounds for conflict and extremism, exacerbating European security and migration challenges. This risk is especially high for Iraq given the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
  • The new US administration is likely to invest less energy than its predecessors in strengthening political orders which provide stability. European states must step up their own efforts.
  • Iraq will need increased efforts on representative power-sharing, including deeper decentralisation, locally directed reconstruction, and security sector reform.
  • In Libya, Europeans should focus on broadening the local and international coalition supporting the UN-backed political agreement, in part through economic tools. They should also focus increased economic recovery efforts on the reconstruction of Sirte and Benghazi.

This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) on 4 January 2017.

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