Al Qaeda is blamed for a series of attacks Tuesday in Baghdad. Insurgents, who have killed more than 100 in the past week, seek to exploit the delay in forming a new Iraq government after last month's election.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Wednesday he's optimistic that a UN investigator would examine claims that Syria, Iran, and others were interfering in Iraq's affairs.
Iraq's Foreign Ministry saw 10 percent of its staff killed or injured. Foreign minister blames systemic security breaches for last week's assault.
Seeking to expand its role on the Mideast stage, it promised Tuesday to send more water to drought-stricken Iraq, which faces its lowest harvest in a decade.
Officials laud a transparent process on bids to develop oil fields – and the opening of investment to foreign firms shut out for more than 30 years.
The pact sets out a three-year timetable for US troop withdrawal. A public referendum on it will be held in July.
Wednesday's vote on a security pact to allow US troops to remain in Iraq for three more years is being seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Maliki's performance.
Amid growing opposition, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called on Sunday for more time to negotiate a plan that could begin US troop withdrawals in June 2009.
In another nod to the West, Syria also sent an ambassador to Iraq – the first in decades.