Strained Iraqi-Syrian relations
Nuri al-Maliki accuses neigbour of trying to restore Baathists to power.
Last Modified: 08 May 2010 12:57 GMT

Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, has accused Damascus of trying to restore Baathists to power in Iraq after a public meeting was held for members of the disbanded Iraqi Baath party in the Syrian capital.

The Iraqi Baath party was dismantled following the 2003 US-led invasion. But some members of Saddam Hussein's regime remain at large.

Several senior Iraqi Baathist officials fled to neighbouring Syria after Saddam's downfall.

Syria is itself ruled by a rival wing of the Baath party, an Arab nationalist movement.

After 20 years of estrangement, Iraq and Syria restored diplomatic ties in 2006, but last August, those ties were cut when al-Maliki blamed Syria for sheltering Iraqi fugitives believed to have masterminded bomb attacks in Baghdad.

So, what lies behind al-Maliki's statements? Is he exporting his troubles across the border? Or is it a reflection of his fears that his base is not as solid as he proclaims?

Inside Iraq is joined by Saad al-Muttalibi, a political advisor to the Iraqi ministry of national dialogue, and Thabet Salem, a Syrian journalist, to discuss.

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from Friday, May 7, 2010.

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