News / Middle East

Outgoing Iraqi PM to Visit Iran to Bolster Candidacy

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (file photo)
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (file photo)

Iranian media report Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will visit Iran Monday as he trys to shore up support from Iranian leaders for his bid for a second term in office. Mr. Maliki visited Syria this past week for similar reasons, according to analysts.

Mr. Maliki's expected visit to Iran comes at a time when Iraqi political factions continue to maneuver behind the scenes, weighing whether to support him for a second term or not. Iraq has been without a government since an inconclusive parliamentary election last March.

Allies of Mr. Maliki indicate that he wants Iran to increase pressure on elements of the loose Shi'ite coalition called the National Alliance to cement his bid for a second term in office.

The prime minister is also seeking the support of other regional powers. He visited Syria last week and is expected to visit Turkey and Jordan in the coming days. In a speech Saturday, Mr. Maliki described his vision of an Iraq playing a key role in the region.

He says that Iraq possesses a vast wealth of human and material capital and should therefore play a pivotal role in the region. That role, he insists, should be a positive one, based on a relation of mutual benefit with neighboring countries.

Iranian TV announced Mr. Maliki's visit to Tehran, reporting that he would discuss the latest developments in Iraq with Iranian leaders.

Fars News Agency reported that Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani arrived in Tehran Friday to lay the groundwork for Mr. Maliki's visit. The agency added that Bolani would meet with his Iranian counterpart Mustafa Mohammad Najar to discuss border security and trade issues.

Iran scholar Houchang Hassanyari, who teaches political science at Canada's Royal Military College, says that Iran views Mr. Maliki as an ally and has intervened in his favor to secure the support of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who had opposed him.

"If it was not for the pressure of the Iranian authorities, Moqtada al-Sadr would not support him," he said. "So, there was a lot of arm-twisting in Iran in the past few months, and finally Muqtada gave him his support. So, he wants to consolidate that support, but also maybe to make the Iranians intervene with the other members of the Iraqi National Alliance to support his candidacy."

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who is Mr. Maliki's chief rival, heads a more broad-based, secular coalition that is closer to Saudi Arabia than to Iran. Allawi told Al Arabiya TV Saturday that Iran's behind the scenes "arm-twisting" was having a "negative effect" on Iraq's political equation.

Houchang Hassanyari also believes that Iranian support for Mr. Maliki could alienate some.

"Iran is not in favor of [Mr. Maliki's] rival, Mr. Allawi. So, [Maliki] goes [to Tehran] to have Iranian support," he said. "But, I think by doing so, he's going to alienate a number of Arab regimes in the region because many of them are more in favor of Allawi, who is more open to a kind of broad coalition of Shi'ites, sunnis and so forth. In the case of Maliki, he's more identified with his own religious group, the Shia."

Mr. Allawi, who won two more seats than Mr. Maliki in the March parliamentary election, has also been seeking regional support for his candidacy. He visited Saudi Arabia this past week and met with Saudi King Abdullah.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid