By all indications Nouri al-Maliki seems to be consolidating power and control in Iraq. in the last several months the Shiite militias, al-Qaida and Iran have felt his teeth.
In recent weeks, Iranian officials have complained that Iraq’s Shiite-dominated leadership is bowing too much to Washington. The Iranians are getting testy over Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s crackdowns in the past two months against Iranian backed Shiite militiamen. Tehran is appalled at the accusation that they are accused.
On Thursday, an Iranian diplomatic convoy approached a bridge leading to a Shiite shrine in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Kazimiyah and was shot at by Iraqi forces.
An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint on the bridge exchanged fire with the convoy’s guards in an argument that broke out when most of the Iranians refused to produce identification cards. This happened while Maliki has been personally supervising an Iraqi operation in Mosul which has rounded up and arrested over 1100 suspected al-Qaida sympathisers and operatives.
Tehran Lambastes US for (attempted?) Assassination of Iranian Diplomats in Iraq
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran blamed the United States on Friday after at least three of its diplomats were wounded in a Baghdad shooting, saying the Americans are encouraging attacks on Iranians in Iraq.
Iran issued a declaration on Friday condemning the attack against four of its diplomats in Iraq, calling the shooting and wounding of its embassy personnel in Baghdad an "assassination attempt".
The Islamic Republic accused US agents for carrying out a criminal action, and reiterated, "Occupation and terrorism are the two main factors of insecurity and instability in Iraq."
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hoseini blamed "distrustful" US security measures for contributing to such incidents.
For the official, the slack and suspicious attitude of the US forces in security affairs has brought about increasing insecurity and nationwide concern.
Hosseini stressed that occupiers have the main responsibility for the security of diplomats and political and international centers established in Iraq.
"The onus is on the occupying forces to ensure security of embassy personnel in Baghdad. The distrustful safety measures taken by US military forces in Iraq have become a serious cause for concern as it is stoking instability in the country," Hosseini said.
"The Islamic Republic is determined to launch extensive investigations on the assassination attempt and will pursue the incident through Iraqi officials," Hosseini added.
The attack was carried out by a group of armed men against two vehicles taking Iranian diplomatic staff to the district of Kadhimiya, where they would visit the Imam Mussa al-Kazem shrine.
The action coincided last nigh with statements against Iran by US President George W. Bush during his Israel visit.
An Iraqi Interior Ministry report said unidentified gunmen in northern Baghdad fired on two SUVs carrying five employees and a driver - all of whom were transported to an Iraqi hospital for treatment.
The US military on Friday said the Iraqi Army found four wounded Iranian nationals in a vehicle near Baghdad on Thursday, and that the Iraqi police are investigating.
Col. Jerry O'Hara, a US military spokesman refuted Iraqi press reports that indicated American forces were involved.