That's because in Washington there is little to celebrate. The next big milestone for Iraq will be the elections expected to take place in May. The contours of Iraq post-Islamic State are becoming clearer. Less clear is whether the strategy to defeat IS was successful and whether the American wars in Iraq are finally over.
What stands out now is the conspicuous absence of American influence. The two main election candidates are current Prime Minister Abadi, and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Both come from the same Shi'ite Dawa party, and both have close ties to Iran. The names should be familiar. Maliki was the Great American Hope in 2006, and again in 2010, to unite Iraq across Sunni-Shi'ite-Kurdish lines as the bulk of American occupation forces withdrew. Abadi was the Great American Hope in 2014 to do the same as American troops flowed back to Iraq to fight Islamic State.
Abadi, a Shi’ite backed by a group close to Iran, says he is running as the head of a cross-sectarian bloc. He took over from Maliki, also a close ally of Iran widely blamed by Iraqi politicians for the army’s failure to prevent Islamic State seizing a third of Iraq.