US urges Mideast allies to bolster Iraqi gov't

The United States is urging its Middle Eastern allies to bolster the fledgling Iraqi government and offset the Iranian influence there, a senior military official said Monday. Previewing the talks that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates will have with regional leaders this week, the official said Washington believes that the "most important way to mitigate Iranian pressure" against the Iraqi government is for Middle East allies to support Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's administration and involve it more in the political discourse of the region.