From a geographic standpoint, Iraq is caught between a rock and a hard place. Its neighbors offer either pressure or non-support. Syria creates pressure by allowing insurgent elements to freely enter western Iraq. From the east, Iran inflicts pressure on Iraq’s political institutions by funding Shiite militias. Friendly support from Iraq’s northern border has been limited by clashes between the Turkish forces and Kurdish nationalistic groups, which create a hostile environment for the two neighbors. Saudi Arabia, disappointed from what it views as a Shiite-dominated Iraq, offers no substantial help to solve Iraq’s southern issues.
The result is a ‘pressure vault’ in which a combination of pressure and non-support from Iraq’s neighbors threatens to implode the stability of the country.