Allawi and Mutlak trips and the latest on Iraq

As the incumbent Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, grapples with rising street demonstrations by the Iraqi people against his government, this week, Dr. Ayad Allawi, the leader of the al-Iraqiya coalition, which won a majority in the March parliamentary elections, traveled to Kuwait after meeting with the president and prime minister of Russia in Moscow. Another senior leader of the coalition, Dr. Saleh Mutlak, visited Turkey to hold talks with the country’s president, prime minister and foreign minister.

Dr. Mutlak headed a delegation of al-Iraqiya members during an official visit to Turkey to meet with the country’s leaders. According to al-Sharqiya TV on Monday, the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, and foreign minister Ahmad Davoud Oglu met with al-Mutlak to discuss details around the formation of a new Iraqi government.

Also on Monday, al-Babeliya TV reported that Heydar Mollah, the spokesman for al-Iraqiya, said Turkish prime minister Rajab Tayeb Erdogan met with Dr. Mutlak and his delegation to discuss ways to expand and improve on the two neighboring countries’ ties. Prime minister Erdogan emphasized Turkey’s support for Iraq’s security, stability and progress.

At the same time, US Vice President Joe Biden said this week, “The Iranian government spent over $100 million trying to affect the outcome of this last election to sway the Iraqi people.” He added, “They utterly failed.”

According to the Wall Street Journal on Monday, speaking to thousands of American veterans in Indianapolis, Vice President Biden said despite enormous attempts by al-Qaeda and the Iranian regime to incite civil unrest, political competition has continued in Iraq.

Biden was quoted as saying that instead of violence, Iraq is now experiencing the political process and nationalism.

Separately, al-Diyar TV has cited an informed source as saying that Muqtada Sadr, the leader of the Sadr movement in Iraq, has told Iranian regime leaders that his opposition to Nouri al-Maliki’s candidacy for a second term is “a matter of principle” and he will not back away from it. He warned that he will do so even if that would lead to his departure from Iran and leaving to Lebanon instead.

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