Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq's new nominee to become prime minister, is the ultimate compromise candidate. A longtime Shia power man formerly aligned with the traditional Shia establishment party, ISCI, Abdul-Mahdi has the support of the two Iraqi parties that secured the most seats in May's parliamentary elections.

For those parties — the Sadrist bloc led by Iranian puppet turned Iraqi nationalist, Muqtada al-Sadr; and the Iranian front alliance, Fatah, which is led by milita goofball, Hadi al-Ameri — Abdul-Mahdi represents a relatively safe bet. While Abdul-Mahdi is in neither side's camp, neither is he in either sides' enemy camp.

Still, Iraqis could also have done worse than Abdul-Mahdi. More measured in temperament and stronger in intellect than former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and with greater political support than current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Abdul-Mahdi offers Iraq the chance at least of some serious reform. The hope here is that Abdul-Mahdi can pursue some anti-corruption reforms that improve public services and consolidate the security gains that have been made against the Islamic State. Of positive note here is that Abdul-Mahdi has previously made efforts to work with Iraq's minority Sunni population and reduce the impact of sectarianism in Baghdad. In that regard, Iraqis should hope that al-Sadr consolidates Abdul-Mahdi against al-Ameri's influence. After all, al-Ameri is an Iranian puppet who will work to prevent Abdul-Mahdi from weakening Iran's lucrative political patronage networks in Iraq. In Abdul-Mahdi, Iran will hope it has a lame duck: a figurehead who keeps al-Sadr happy but doesn't do anything to significantly upset Iranian interests.

What will happen next?

It's hard to say. But the U.S. should continue working to strengthen multi-sectarian cooperation in Baghdad, rather than rope Iraq into its broader showdown with Iran. Indeed, the U.S. should offer Abdul-Mahdi and the Sadrists an open hand of pragmatism. The Trump administration must remember that the Sadrist victory in May was a consequence of broad Iraqi disenchantment towards both the U.S. and Iran, and frustration at corruption and poor services. Due to the outsize influence of the Iranian hardliners in Iran's policy towards Iraq, it is likely that Iran will again overplay its hand in Iraq in the coming months. At that point it will see new riots against its consulates and will lose even more political capital. The U.S. not make that same mistake.

President Trump should try to work with Iraq's new government.