Iraqi Prime Minister Seeks Iran’s Backing

Stop Fundamentalism – Iraq’s Prime Minister’s two day visit to Tehran this Sunday and Monday took place at a time when rising tensions between Nouri al-Maliki and his political adversaries has put him and his premiership in a very difficult position.  Political observers consider his trip to be an attempt on his part to gain Iran’s support in facing Iraq’s growing political challenges.  Maliki’s is alleged by his opponents of trying to start a new dictatorship in Iraq.

In his visit to Tehran, Maliki met many Iranian officials.  One considerable visit, says a statement from the Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, was a secret one with General Qassem Soleimani, Commander of Iran’s Qods force of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. Soleimani is named along with the Qods forces under his command on the terror blacklist of the United States and in a new measure, by a presidential order, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have also been put on the United States Treasury Department’s blacklist, since Monday.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian regime’s president described the bilateral relationship between the two countries to be “exemplary in the world.”  Al-Maliki also paid a visit to Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader during his two day visit. 

Some Iraqi political groups, including al-Maliki’s own “National Unity” are now asking him to step down as the Prime Minister holding him responsible for the economic, political and security instability in that country.  Many sides see him incapable of resolving Iraq’s internal problems. 

An Iraqi Parliamentarian played down Maliki’s trip to Tehran saying he hoped that “following Arab League meeting in Baghdad, his next trip would be to an Arab state rather than Iran.” “This is specially considering the current political crisis in Iraq,” said Talal Alzobeie, a member of Iraqi Parliament from Iraqia Bloc.

In his statement Saturday, Ayatollah Mohammad Tagi Moddaresi, a religious leader in Iraq, warned Iraqis about the danger of an emerging dictatorship in their country. 

Iraq’s Vice-President Tariq Al-Hashimi, who has been on the run since last year fleeing persecution at the hands of al-Maliki forces, on the charges of running death squads which he denies, is now visiting Turkey.  He took refuge in Iraq’s Kurdistan saying Maliki is trying to blackmail him with threats of terrorism charges.  Before Turkey, Hashimi visited Qatar and Saudi Arabia in an effort to gather support in these neighboring countries.

Iran is blamed for exporting weapons and bombs to Iraq and training insurgents who are responsible for the large part of the bloodshed in Iraq.