Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki wins high honors in Tehran, further alienating Sunni Arab politicians

Wednesday, Maliki held private talks on security with Ali Larijani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, followed by a photo-op showing him hand in hand with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and a meeting with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
He also discussed plans for Iran to build a power station in Baghdad’s Shiite Sadr City district and supplies of 400,000 tons of kerosene and liquid gas. A large US military operation in Baghdad’s Sadr City has meanwhile killed 32 Shiite insurgents and detained 12. They were members of a Mehdi Army radical faction suspected of facilitating the smuggling of weapons from Iran.
Maliki is left with just over half his cabinet and no Sunni ministers since Monday, Aug. 6, when five members of former PM Ayad Alawi’s Iraqiya List announced a boycott of cabinet meetings in protest against its pro-Shiite favoritism.
Last week, six members of the largest Sunni Arab bloc, the Accordance Front, exited the government.
Al Maliki is left with an extremely fragile lineup of 24 of his original 40-member coalition government.

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