For the second time, a delegation of the United States met one from the Islamic Republic. They met again in Baghdad to negotiate and consult with one another regarding the complex and intractable issues left outstanding since the early days of the Islamic Republic, from February 1979 all the way up to the present. But it's strange that of all the places on God's vast earth, these two countries couldn't find a place other than battle-scarred Iraq to address bilateral difficulties that have now spilled well beyond their own borders.

It is indeed a paradox that the United States and Iran, major players ever since the April 9, 2003 invasion began and - as is clear to everyone - who intervene directly and indirectly and are so inseparably tied to what has happened and is still happening in Iraq, have chosen to converge in the inferno of Baghdad.

Is it that America and Iran regard Iraq as so stable, secure, peaceful and neutral that they see fit to meet in its capital!? Have they forgotten that the situation in Iraq is merely the latest chapter in a series of differences they have had with one another, and which stem not from a love of Iraq and its people, but rather from their own selfish interests?

Although these meetings are taking place under the guise of improving the Iraq situation, the truth is that they are doing nothing to reduce the barbaric level of violence destroying Iraq. Under the contrary, they only add to the destruction and are transforming Iraq into an open arena for conflict - both domestic and foreign.

It is in Iraq's interest that in the immediate future, the United States hand over the levers of power to the Iraqis themselves, rather than intervening in issues like whether the Parliament should allow its members to take a summer vacation!

And neither should Iran interfere through its many proxies that support and finance competing militias and other groups.

Iraqi politicians who care about the interests, freedom, unity and independence of the Iraqi people should disclose the facts surrounding these talks and consultations [with the Iranians and Americans], because it's obvious that these two countries are settling old scores on Iraqi territory that of not in out interest, but which will result in nothing but more violence, insecurity and chaos.

*An Iraqi Writer