Iran leader's Iraq visit eclipses US, Arab ties
BAGHDAD, March 2 (Reuters) - Pomp and ceremony greeted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his arrival in Iraq on Sunday, the fanfare a stark contrast to the rushed and secretive visits of his bitter rival U.S. President George W. Bush.Ahmadinejad's well publicized and public visit is in stark contrast to George Bush's short secret sorties into the country. He not only was received warmly but got the flowers that were supposed to go to the Americans. This is just another indication of the misguided incompetence of the Bush administration and the neocons. Over two thirds of the Iraqis want the US out of their country and nearly two thirds of the American people want the US to leave Iraq. The US ousted Iran's long time enemy Saddam Hussein and made it possible for a Iranian friendly Shiite government to gain control.
Ahmadinejad held hands with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani as they walked down a red carpet to the tune of their countries' national anthems, his visit the first by an Iranian president since the two neighbours fought a ruinous war in the 1980s.
His warm reception, in which he was hugged and kissed by Iraqi officials and presented with flowers by children, was Iraq's first full state welcome for any leader since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.
His visit not only marks the cementing in ties between the neighbours, both run by Shi'ite majorities, but is seen as a show of support for the Iraqi government and an act of defiance against Iran's longtime enemy, the United States, which has over 150,000 troops Iraq.
A line of senior Iraqi political leaders welcomed Ahmadinejad when he arrived at Talabani's palatial home.