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To counter Iranian sway, US promotes Iraqi-Saudi ties

Top Trump administration officials say they see countering Iranian influence in Iraq as important to strengthening Baghdad and preventing destabilizing fissures that helped make way for the Islamic State.
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WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Riyadh today to attend the inaugural meeting of the Saudi-Iraq Coordination Council. The initiative to expand ties between Iraq and Saudi Arabia is part of a larger effort by the United States to try to foster Iraq’s independence from and resistance to overbearing Iranian influence.

Top Donald Trump administration officials say they see countering excessive Iranian influence in Iraq as an essential component of a strategy to shore up a strong Iraq and prevent a potentially destabilizing sectarian breakdown, which could provide fertile ground for the return of the Islamic State (IS) or its successor group.

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