IRAQ DOWN: Mailiki In Armed Standoff With Baghdad

Published on August 11, 2014

Nouri al-Maliki was denied by Fouad Masoum to be named the Prime Minister of Iraq for his third term. What will this mean as IS takes power? See below…

Here’s what we know right now. The new president of Iraq, Fouad Masoum, a Kurd, who was chosen on 24 July, refused on Sunday, 10 August, to name Nouri al-Maliki to a third term as prime minister. For what it’s worth, neither man has the absolute letter of the law behind his position. Maliki got more seats than anyone else in the most recent election, as he has in the last two. But technically, he doesn’t have the plurality needed, or the majority coalition, to have the right to form a government. What President Masoum has done is decline to continue affirming Maliki, as had been done previously, in spite of his not meeting the full criteria for forming a government.

Regional observers seem confident that it’s a standoff with force involved.

The U.S., a vocal critic of Maliki in recent weeks, has come out in support of Masoum and his position.


On Sunday evening,  Maliki went on national TV and informed Iraqis that he would not step aside.  In the hours surrounding this announcement, he apparently ordered loyalist forces to converge on Masoum’s residence, and to close down the bridges and roadways into the Green Zone.  He’s hunkered down in the Green Zone now, apparently preparing to fight being dislodged.  (See here, here, and here.)

That said, it’s not clear that anyone (other than ISIS, of course) actually has a plan to forcibly remove him. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of it. Maliki’s fate actually depends more on whether he still has the support of Iran, and probably Russia. The current developments are grave and significant, but proclamations that Maliki’s days are numbered are premature. Who, exactly, is going to make that a reality? To whom is it worth the disruption — and who can contain it?

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