Iraq Continues to Unravel
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse in Iraq they just did. It looks like we could have a civil war or coup in the Green Zone in Baghdad. [icopyright one button toolbar]
Kerry said that the formation of a government is “critical” to Iraq’s stability and urged Maliki not to add to tensions gripping Iraq – where Sunni militants have declared an Islamic state stretching into Syria.
“Our hope is that Mr Maliki will not stir those waters,” he said.
Hours after Maliki deployed the extra security forces, Iraq’s largest coalition of Shiite political parties dealt the prime minister a slap in the face. The Iraqi National Alliance nominated Haider al-Abadi – the deputy prime minister – to replace Maliki. Massoum accepted the nomination – and formally asked Abadi to form a government – but Maliki is broadly expected to resist and dig in his heels.
The Shiite coalition selects a replacement for Maliki and his reaction was to bring in the troops and refuse to step down. Now nearly everyone agrees that Maliki is the problem he think he needs to go.
While Maliki’s move to cling to power comes as no surprise to officials and analysts, his timing – and method – have set off particularly loud alarm bells.
“That man honestly can never stop stabbing himself in the foot,” Stephens said. “Maliki’s response has been typical Maliki – the worst possible option that you could choose.”
Since coming to power, Maliki has been broadly accused of divisive policies that have alienated broad swaths of the Iraqi population and fanned the flames of sectarianism.
Pressure has been mounting for the prime minister to step aside since Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants launched a rapid-fire offensive through northern Iraq, seizing key cities and leaving a trail of brutality in their wake. Since then, questions have multiplied over whether the Shiite prime minister would step back for the good of the country.
This is not what Iraq needs at a time when Baghdad itself is threatened by ISIS. The military is being used to protect Maliki rather than protect the capitol city.