News / Middle East

Iran Seeking Successor to Iraqi PM Maliki

FILE - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (c) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in their meeting in Tehran, Iran.FILE - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (c) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in their meeting in Tehran, Iran.
x
FILE - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (c) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in their meeting in Tehran, Iran.
FILE - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (c) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in their meeting in Tehran, Iran.
Reuters

Iran is trying to work with Iraqi factions for a replacement for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a new government in Baghdad but there are few suitable candidates, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday.

Iran has become the main power broker in its neighbor to the west since U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, leaving the country in the hands of a Shi'ite Muslim-led government headed by Maliki, a key ally of Tehran.

Maliki's critics accuse him of fueling the Sunni Islamist insurgency that has overrun parts of northern Iraq, saying his anti-Sunni bias has inflamed sectarian tensions and allowed Islamic State rebels to cultivate support among Iraqi Sunnis.

“We have reached the conclusion that Maliki cannot preserve the unity of Iraq anymore, but Ayatollah [Ali] Sistani still has hopes,” said the Iranian official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, referring to Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric.

“Now, Ayatollah Sistani also backs our view on Maliki.”

The official said Tehran's Iranian ambassador in Baghdad had held consultations with political factions and some potential candidates on the subject, but acknowledged that finding a suitable replacement for Maliki was difficult.

“There are not many candidates who can and have the capability to preserve the unity of Iraq,” the official said.

Maliki's bloc won the most seats in a national election earlier this year but efforts to form a new government have been hindered by objections by other factions, especially minority Sunnis, to Maliki becoming prime minister for a third term.

Coalition-building has been further complicated by the rise of Islamic State insurgents who seized Sunni regions of northern Iraq in June almost unopposed, and have since declared a medieval-style caliphate enforcing austere sharia law.

Shi'ite Iran considers the Islamic State insurgency a major security threat and has increased its military presence in Iraq to counter it. At least three members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps have been killed in fighting with Sunni militants in Iraq since mid-June.

The United States and other Western powers hope that Iran will use leverage arising from its deep ties to both the Iraqi government and a number of Iraqi Shi'ite shrines to help defuse the Sunni insurgent crisis.  

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid