Iranian influence and interference in the internal affairs of Iraq have become central US policy concerns since the election of a Shiite-majority political elite in 2005. Yet observers have rarely addressed the strategic pursuit of support from both the US and Iranian governments by the Iraqi leadership to defend against threats to its incumbency. In recent years, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has increasingly pursued engagement with Iranian representatives in an effort to counter domestic challenges and consolidate state resources. However, while the present Iraqi elite has attracted significant trade and foreign investment as well as reconstruction assistance from Tehran, it has been less successful in consolidating an Iranian-sponsored coalition to ensure victory in national elections.

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