Maria Appakova, Novosti, trans. Igor Medvedev | June 16, 2008
Al-Maliki wants good relations both with Iran and with the US but ongoing tensions between the two are putting him in a difficult position. ++ The Iraqi Prime Minister cannot afford to ruffle Iran's feathers because of the large Shia majority in Iraq, which is loyal to Tehran, but Iraq also needs Western help. ++ The UN mandate for Iraq ends on December 31, 2008, and Iran has tried hard to inhibit an US-Iraqi agreement. ++ "The only chance al-Maliki has to guarantee calm is to reconcile Iraq's two greatest allies, the United States and Iran."