Foreign Policy Blogs

Vice President Biden Drops by Baghdad


Joe Biden on a 2007 visit to Iraq

Joe Biden on a 2007 visit to Iraq


Vice President Joe Biden dodged Hurricane Alex’s Gulf Coast landfall to wade into a storm of another sort. According to the Washington Post, the the Veep made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Saturday in the midst of a political log jam that’s been stacked up Iraq’s national parliamentary election four months ago.

Biden’s last visit was something of a disaster. Amid controversy surrounding Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s attempt to prohibit political rivals from participating in the March elections, Biden arrived to soothe tensions between various parties. While this move underscored U.S. concerns regarding mounting tensions, it also demonstrated the growing incapacity of US leverage. At the time, he visit exacerbated a political crisis that deepened sectarian tensions.

Now the question is whether Biden can help soothe political friction between Shi’a incumbent Prime Minister  Nouri al Maliki and secular Shi’a Ayad Allawi with some good, old fashioned superpower leverage. Of course, given America’s stated commitment to draw down to 50,000 troops by the end of August regardless of whether or not Iraq has a government, the Vice President may find his powers of persuasion will fall on increasingly deaf ears.



Reid Smith

Reid Smith has worked as a research associate specializing on U.S. policy in the Middle East and as a political speechwriter. He is currently a doctoral student and graduate associate with the University of Delaware's Department of Political Science and International Relations. He blogs and writes for The American Spectator.