The US State Department today expressed outrage over what it called the Iranian government’s “meddling” in the domestic politics of Iraq. The comments come as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, both the American and Iranian choice for a second term in office, was in Iran visiting top officials as well as potential coalition partners.
Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made it quite clear that it was their preference that Maliki form a Shi’ite dominated coalition and push for the exit of American occupation forces from the nation.
The feigned outrage, however, must seem incredible cynical coming just a day after reports emerged that the Obama Administration was itself engaged in very clear “meddling” on Maliki’s choice of coalition partners, demanding that presumptive ally (and outspoken US critic) Moqtada al-Sadr not be included in any government.
The March election saw the Iraqiya bloc, a secularist faction with strong Sunni backing, winning a narrow plurality, with Maliki’s State of Law bloc second and Sadr’s Iraqi National Alliance a distant but still meaningful third. No bloc is able to form a government alone, but any two could.
Yet after over seven months, clear fissures have emerged in each potential alliance, with the Maliki-Sadr pairing seemingly the only one close to being viable. Though US officials want Sadr cut out of the deal, it seems Maliki has little chance of forming a government without him.