News Middle East

Thursday 2 October 2014

US and Iran both endorse Iraq's next prime minister

Michael Georgy

Published 13/08/2014 | 02:30

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President Barack Obama

Iraq's new prime minister-designate won swift endorsements from uneasy mutual allies the United States and Iran yesterday as he called on political leaders to end crippling feuds that have let jihadists seize a third of the country.

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Haider al-Abadi still faces opposition closer to home, where his Shi'ite party colleague Nuri al-Maliki has refused to step aside after eight years as premier that have alienated Iraq's once dominant Sunni minority and irked Washington and Tehran.

However, Shi'ite militia and army commanders long loyal to Maliki signalled their backing for the change, as did many people on the streets of Baghdad, eager for an end to fears of a further descent into sectarian and ethnic bloodletting.

Sunni neighbours Turkey and Saudi Arabia also welcomed Abadi's appointment.

A statement from Maliki's office said he met senior security officials and army and police commanders to urge them "not to interfere in the political crisis". At least 17 people were killed in two car bombings in Shi'ite areas of Baghdad - a kind of attack that has become increasingly routine in recent months.

However, US officials said the Obama administration was already considering sending more military advisers to Iraq. Speaking on condition of anonymity, several said a decision to send at least 70 extra military personnel was likely last night, although a final decision had not yet been made.

Irish Independent

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