Monday, August 11, 2014
Iraq has a new Prime Minister...or not
It depends on which political party you listen to. And just when the country needs some sort of unifying event, Maliki of Iraq says the selection of Haider al Abadi is not legitimate.
Iraq’s political crisis deepened Monday, with Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki entrenching himself in the capital’s International Zone while the coalition his political party belongs to nominated a rival to succeed him as head of the government.Yup! This should be just what the doctor ordered.
Iraqi President Fouad Massoum named former Maliki ally Haider al Abadi as the country’s next prime minister after the National Iraqi Alliance, the country’s largest Shiite political bloc, nominated him.
The announcement that Abadi had been selected prime minister came after the country’s highest court reportedly rejected a demand by Maliki that his State of Law party, and not the National Iraqi Alliance coalition, be given the task of choosing the prime minister.
Maliki supporters remained defiant.
“Haider al Abadi was not nominated by State of Law and nominating him has no legal value,” Maryam al Ries, Maliki’s political adviser, told al Sumaria TV.
Another Shiite political leader, Hadi al Amiri, distanced himself from Abadi’s nomination. Amiri, whose bloc belongs to the alliance, said he did not sign on to Abadi’s nomination.
In a late night speech Sunday, Maliki announced that he would file a legal complaint against Massoum for failing to appoint a prime minister from Maliki’s party by an earlier constitutional deadline.
At the same time, Maliki called on elite special forces to reinforce the sprawling government complex known as the International Zone, which houses parliament and Maliki’s home.
Main roads in the city were closed and troops were out in force both on foot and in trucks mounted with machine guns. Nicholay Mladenov, the United Nations special envoy to Iraq, released a statement Monday urging Iraq’s military to stay out of the political dispute.
Maliki’s moves drew a sharp rebuke from Secretary of State John Kerry, who is traveling in Australia. U.S. officials have lobbied for weeks for Maliki to step down, contending the country needs a new leader to unite Iraq against the threat posed by militants in the Islamic State.
“We stand absolutely squarely behind President Massoum (who) has the responsibility for upholding the constitution of Iraq,” Kerry said.
Kerry said Maliki’s actions could lead the U.S. to withhold further military assistance just days after American jets and drones began launching air strikes against Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.
“One thing all Iraqis need to know, that there will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitution process that is in place and being worked on now,” he said.
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