By Julian Pecquet - 02/13/13 06:26 PM EST
Iraq is hiring the Podesta Group for its first post-Saddam Hussein lobbying contract, Politico reported Wednesday.
The country is trying to fix its image in the United States amid continued sectarian violence and close ties to U.S. archrival Iran. While many Democrats – including President Obama – have long been opposed to the war that brought the current government into power, Republicans soured on Maliki after his government rejected a deal to keep U.S. troops in the country past 2011.
The country also faces allegations that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been seeking to consolidate power. The opposition Iraqiya List hired public relations shop Sanitas last year to try to make the Maliki's alleged power grab an election-year issue, The Hill reported at the time.