Cables: Iraq needs U.S. to curb neighbors

Dec. 5, 2010 at 12:28 PM

BAGHDAD, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Iraq's leaders complain that all of its neighbors are meddling in its affairs, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables show.

President Jalal Talabani voiced his concerns to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last December, a cable reported by The New York Times said.

"All Iraq's neighbors were interfering, albeit in different ways," he said, "the Gulf and Saudi Arabia with money, Iran with money and political influence, and the Syrians by all means. The Turks are 'polite' in their interference, but continue their attempts to influence Iraq's Turkmen community and Sunnis in Mosul."

As American troops pull out, Iraq's leaders still depend on the United States to counter foreign interference, the messages revealed by WikiLeaks indicate.

When he visited Washington in July 2009, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked U.S. President Barack Obama to stop the Saudis from intervening. Saudi Arabia's backing of the Sunnis, the Shiite leader complained, was stoking sectarian conflict and giving Iran an excuse to intervene in Iraq, an account Maliki shared with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill said, the Times reported.

For his part, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told U.S. counter-terrorism chief John Brennan in a March 2009 meeting that Maliki was "an Iranian agent."

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