In Secret Talks, Iran Forged Deal for Pro-Tehran Iraq
It brokered the coalition between Nouri Al-Maliki, Muqtada al-Sadr
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 18, 2010 11:14 AM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Oct. 18, 2010.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Iran was behind the recently struck deal between Nouri al-Maliki and Muqtada al-Sadr, and the result could be an Iraqi government friendly to Tehran and distanced from the West, the Guardian reports. According to the paper's sources, Syria, Hezbollah, and top Shia religious leaders were involved with a secret campaign to unite the two leaders' parties, making Maliki the frontrunner to return as prime minister. Iran pushed Sadr to embrace Maliki after the last American combat troops departed Iraq.

“American policy inside Iraq has facilitated this Iranian takeover," said a deputy for Maliki's rival, Iyad Allawi. "They are now pulling out of Iraq and it appears their behavior early in the summer was almost to appease Iran. We have gone from being under US occupation to Iranian occupation." Maliki reportedly told his regional neighbors that he "will never extend, or renew [any bases] or give any facilities to the Americans or British after the end of next year," according to the source.