Baghdad’s 2018 budget would see the deficit halve to $10.6bn. But to achieve this capital spending is slated to be cut just when it is needed most. Revenues remain up in the air with a conservative oil price offset by optimistic export projections.

Iraq finally passed its 2018 budget on 3 March, four months after it released its draft budget, amidst typically contentious parliamentary debate and a boycott by Kurdish lawmakers. The document underlines Baghdad’s desire to get its...