With a wary eye on Iran, Saudi and Iraqi leaders draw closer

17 Aug 2017   Iraq, Saudi Arabia

It was an unusual meeting: An Iraqi Shi’ite Muslim cleric openly hostile to the United States sat in a palace sipping juice at the invitation of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, the Sunni kingdom that is Washington’s main ally in the Middle East. For all the implausibility, the motivations for the July 30 gathering in Jeddah between Moqtada al-Sadr and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman run deep, and center on a shared interest in countering Iranian influence in Iraq. For Sadr, who has a large following among the poor in Baghdad and southern Iraqi cities, it was part of efforts to bolster his Arab and nationalist image ahead of elections where he faces Shi’ite […]

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