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Abadi tries to balance Iraq between Iran, Turkey

Under Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi government did not hide its strong ties with Iran, but with a new administration in place, Haider al-Abadi is trying to cultivate a more balanced policy toward its neighbors.
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi review a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony in Ankara December 25, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4J8KH
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The prime minister's palace in Baghdad has had a new occupant since August 2014. After eight years in office, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was succeeded by a UK-educated politician. Regional and international criticism aimed at Maliki forced him to give up his chair in favor of another member of the Dawa Party, Haider al-Abadi, although he had received more votes in the parliamentary elections.

During his time as prime minister, Maliki maintained the closest of relations with Iran. Abadi, however, views things differently. Although the first foreign trip made by Abadi, a former Dawa spokesman in the United Kingdom, was to Tehran in October 2014, his comments following the visit signal that Iraq is changing its regional foreign policy.

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