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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Ayad Allawi
Iraq's former prime minister says the United States is ignoring an "emerging dictatorship" in his country, telling The Washington Times that Iran is "swallowing" Iraq and dictating its strategic policies.
A wave of 16 bombings ripped across Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 69 people in the worst violence in Iraq for months.
Iraqi Kurds are committed to preserving their country's borders despite their longtime yearning for an independent state, a leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region told The Washington Times.
The Iraqi parliament on Tuesday unanimously approved a new government headed by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who apparently has appeased the Sunni-backed bloc that bested his own party in the country's March elections.
Parliament swore in a new Iraqi government Tuesday after nine months of bitter political haggling, solidifying the grip that Shi'ites have held on political power since Saddam Hussein's ouster while leaving open the question of whether the country's disgruntled Sunni minority will play a meaningful role.
Iran continues to dominate WikiLeaks disclosures, with new releases from Baghdad and Beirut showing concerns about Iranian meddling in Iraqi politics as well as the establishment of a nationwide fiber-optic network by its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani formally renominated Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to his post Thursday, giving him 30 days to assemble a government.
Iraq's president gave Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the nod to form the next government Thursday after an eight-month deadlock, but a dramatic walkout from Parliament by his Sunni rivals cast doubt on a power-sharing deal reached by the two sides less than a day earlier.
Four deadly explosions rocked Iraq Monday as political leaders hustled to seal a power-sharing agreement in time for the convening of the country's Parliament.
The Sunni-backed political coalition that narrowly won the most votes in Iraq's parliamentary election appeared Sunday to be giving up its demand for the premiership, boosting the Shi'ite prime minister's drive to keep his job.
A Sunni-backed bloc that came first in elections seven months ago is united against the bid by Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to remain in office, a party spokesman said Monday, in another clear sign of deep divisions over efforts to end Iraq's political impasse.
Several dozen Iraqis who failed to gain asylum in Europe returned to Iraq on Wednesday despite concerns the country is still too dangerous, the U.N. refugee agency said.
As American combat forces depart and security remains fragile, Iraq's experiment with democracy hangs in the balance. The political and security situation in Baghdad points to a very unstable future.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. returned to Iraq on Monday to mark the formal end to U.S. combat operations and to push the country's leaders to end a six-month stalemate blocking the formation of a new government.
The Pentagon is officially ending its seven-year combat mission in Iraq on Aug. 31, but the remaining 50,000 U.S. troops will still carry out missions against terrorists and the CIA will continue cooperation with Iraq's now-unified intelligence service.
"I don't know; it depends," he said. "Maybe I'll be arrested by the government or killed or assassinated."
"Unfortunately, there were policymakers who were saying that the solution is removal of Saddam [Hussein] by force and immediately pushing a button and creating democracy in the country," Mr. Allawi said. "And we have seen now, it's the 10th year, and we don't have democracy. In fact, we have an emerging dictatorship."