Ex-Iraq Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki Will Not, Repeat Will Not, Step Down
The man that critics have accused of deteriorating the Iraqi government has finally been ousted from office, but he won't leave just yet. Iraq's president formally nominated a new prime minister on Monday, but sitting prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is still clinging to his power, adding further political turmoil to the crisis in Iraq.
President Fouad Massoum nominated Haider al-Abadi — elected deputy speaker of parliament just a few weeks ago — just after Maliki appeared on late-night television and threatened to sue Massoum for violating the timeline set by the constitution for naming a prime minister and, ultimately, snubbing him as the nominee. Security forces and certain military units siding with Maliki occupied certain parts of the city and the government's green zone as the he spoke on air. Meanwhile, there was considerable U.S. knuckle-whitening as they prepared for a potential coup. So far, Maliki has not shown signs of using military force to keep his position. This leaves Abadi, a fellow member of Maliki's Shiite Islamist Dawa Party, with 30 days to put together his own government. Maliki constructed a largely Shiite government, targeting many Kurds and Sunnis and removing them from office. Though Abadi comes from the same political coalition, it seems that for some politicians that there is nowhere to go but up. “Really, at this point, I think it’s anybody but Maliki,” an anonymous Kurdish politician told The New York Times .According to The Guardian, the television footage showed Massoum and Abadi shaking hands as the president said, "I hope you will be successful in forming a broader-based government."
This latest development comes as the Iraqi government struggles against the Sunni militant group ISIS. President Barack Obama has previously urged Iraq to form a more inclusive government that will unite to stave off ISIS attacks, something that Abadi has already publicly pledged that he will do. It is unclear if Abadi will be able to form a more inclusive government, though Massoum seems confident in the new prime minister. Or would-be prime minister, as Maliki still has not officially relinquished his position. But the political stir can't help a country that is already struggling for territory against the powerful ISIS. At this point, it is essential that the government unites, and that means dispelling the sectarian politics that Maliki promoted during his time as prime minister.