Iraq occupies a precarious position in the Middle East. Its long borders with Iran and Saudi Arabia mean there is an ever-present risk of Iraq becoming embroiled in their rivalry. The delicate balancing act was demonstrated this week when unforeseen events resulted in new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi making Tehran his first international visit since taking office.

Mr Kadhimi had been scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on 20 July but the hospitalization of King Salman that day – King Salman later had an operation to remove his gallbladder – led to the postponement of the trip. Mr Kadhimi’s 21-22 July visit to Iran then went ahead as planned. (CONTINUED - 740 WORDS)