Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki concluded his two-day visit to Iran on Tuesday. During his visit he met with Iran’s President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Spiritual Leader Ayatullah Ali Khameni. The members of al-Maliki delegation held talks with Iranian officials to enhance the current trade, military and Iraqi rehabiliation projects. The trade between Iraq and Iran hit $10 billion last year which is expected to increase to $12 billion during the current year.
This is al-Maliki’s first visit to Iran since his re-election as country’s PM with the support of Muqtada al-Sadr party’s 40 MPs against US campaign in favor of western poodle Ayad Allawi. The main reason for al-Maliki’s visit to Iran is to seek Tehran’s alliance against Turkey and Saudi Arabia which are supporting his rival, Vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi, a former member of Saddam Hussain’s Ba’athist party. With Tehran’s help, Iraq under al-Maliki regime is expected to play a dominant role in the Arab region. The coming meeting of P5+1 and Iran in Baghdad will definitely serve Iraqi status as a regional power.
In an editorial in Iranian daily Khorasan titled, “Iran, new Iraq and new Middle East order,” refers to Nuri al-Maliki’s visit to Iran as confirmation for establishment of a coalition between Iran, Russia, Iraq and China, and their efforts to implement a new order in the Muslim East.
Ayatullah Khamenie told al-Maliki that Iran is pleased with Iraq’s growing power in the Arab world and throughout the region. He stressed the need to establish a scientific movement in Iraq that would serve as a center for scientific potential and capability in the Arab world. The Spiritual Leader noted that there were parties, who strived to push Iraq out of the Arab world, but the fact that the Arab League Summit was held in Baghdad proved Iraq’s strength and, in fact, made Iraq the current head of the Arab League.
Maliki who represents the 60% Iraqi Shia majority. He has a dream of a regional united block with Shia majority Iran. This has posed an ‘existential threat’ to the Zionist entity. Israel and its Jewish lobby groups in the US have raised objection to Washington’s $4.6 billion contract with al-Maliki government to sell 36 F-16s to Iraq during the next five years. Baghdad, reportedly, has already paid $3 billion for this purchase. Israel fears that these F-16s will be used against its regional ally, the Iraqi Kurdistan. The pro-Israel President of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massud Barzani has also called on Obama administration to block the sale as long as al-Maliki is in power.
“The F-16 must not reach the hand of this man. We must either prevent him from having these weapons, or if he has them, he should not stay in his position,” Barzani told reporters at his residence near the Kurdistan region’s capital Arbil on Sunday, referring to Maliki.
Barzani hosted Iraq’s Sunni Vice-president Tareq al-Hashemi after he was accused of running a death squad and declined to hand him over to the central government. Barzani then permitted the fugitive Tareq to leave on a trip that first took him to pro-Israel Qatar, then Saudi Arabia, and now Turkey.