Arabs: US-Iranian talks cut us from Iraq's future

Iraq's Arab neighbors feared Tuesday that the budding dialogue between Washington and Iran could cut them out of the debate over the future of Iraq, one of the region's most important countries. Many of Iraq's mostly Sunni Muslim-dominated neighbors worry that the US-Iran dialogue on Monday in Baghdad would further boost Iran's influence with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government and Iraq's security forces. They emphasized that while Iraq may be majority Shi'ite Muslim like Iran, it must not forget that a majority of its estimated 27 million people are Arab like the rest of its other Mideast neighbors. "Iraq should not be stripped of its Arab identity," Ahmed ben Heli, the Arab League's undersecretary general told reporters in Cairo Tuesday.