"The time has come for Saudi Arabia to improve its relations with Iraq and to open up opportunities for the two countries and the region to help Iraq get back on business," the us website International Policy Digest said.
The US website recalled Saudi assistance to Iraq during its war with Iran in the 1980s, which reflected the strength of their relationship, but Iraq turned against the Gulf states when it invaded Kuwait.
Saudi-Iraqi relations then deteriorated, he said.
For decades, Iraq has suffered from war, economic hardship and the influence of militias, and these issues have caused instability in Iraq today, the us website said, noting that Arab and Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, have left Iraq to suffer alone.
While Saudi Arabia has made some efforts to improve relations with Iraq, it is there to do more, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia's economic impact on Iraq is modest compared to that enjoyed by Iran and Turkey, as Saudi exports to Iraq increased from 23 million dollars in 2000 to 651 million dollars in 2018, but that is much lower than turkey and Iran's trade with Iraq.
Confronting Iran's Influence
He said Saudi Arabia needed to confront Iran's harmful influence and return Iraq to its natural position in the region, that trade with Iraq could improve its economy, and that providing solutions to Iraq's energy system, which is heavily dependent on Iranian sources, could ease Iraq's dependence on Iran and help Saudi Arabia stabilize Iraq and the region.
"Over the past decade, Iran has made it difficult for Saudi Arabia and other countries to engage with Iraq, considering that Iranian-backed militias pose a threat to the Iraqi government, that Iranian influence has made Arab countries not trust the Baghdad government, and as a result, Iraq has strengthened its relations with Iran," he said.
He said Saudi economic trade and investment would allow Iraq to shift its interests to Saudi Arabia and other countries, away from Iran. "We are not going to be able to do that," Hesse said.
He also said investment in Iraq would strengthen Iraq's economy and Saudi energy supplies, which would also help Iraq mitigate Iranian influence, as diversification of Iraq's energy sources was necessary to curb Iranian control.
Strengthening Iraq's stability
The report said Saudi support would enhance Iraq's stability and security, allowing the Baghdad government to deal effectively with terrorists and militias.
He also noted that Iranian support for the Syrian regime was passing through Iraq, and that Iraq's stability would reduce the militants' ability to cross its territory, i.e. Iraq's cooperation with Saudi Arabia could ease Iran's support for the Syrian government.
"Although many Saudis consider Iraq an enemy, the two countries have relations that reflect Arab identity, culture, nature and values," he said.
"It has been decades since the Iraqis lived in peace, Saudi Arabia can work alongside race to achieve this goal, Saudi economic development for Iraq will strengthen the Iraqi government, and reducing Iranian influence in Iraq could give Iraqis the ability to focus on the reconstruction of Iraq," he said.
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