Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Damn, Nouri looks so good when he's walking away

Yesterday Haider al-Abadi was named Iraq's prime minister-designate which means he has 30 days to form a government (Cabinet) and, if successful in that, he becomes prime minister of Iraq.  Of al-Abadi, Larry Kaplow and Alice Fordham (NPR via Idea Stream) report:

Abadi is a genial electrical engineer in his early 60s who often served as an intermediary for diplomats and Western journalists in Baghdad. He was comfortable in the role, having been educated in England and serving as the British representative of the Dawa party, a Shiite Islamist group, when it was in exile during the era of dictator Saddam Hussein.
Abadi's prominence in Dawa gives him credibility with the country's Shiite majority. Dawa was formed in the 1950s among Shiite intellectuals following the direction of a respected cleric.
The party fought Saddam, who authorized the executions of thousands of its members.
And while Maliki was working in low-level education bureaucracies in Iraq and on underground activities from Iran and Syria, Abadi was a Dawa spokesman in Britain, where he earned a doctorate and received a broad view of the world.

Along with a prime minister-designate, Iraq now has an outgoing prime minister.

To be very clear, al-Abadi could fail at his task and, 30 days from now, a new prime minister-designate would be named.  That could happen.

Even if it did, Iraq would still have an outgoing prime minister because Nouri's tantrums and threats of the last few days now ensure he will not have the backing for a third term.

Dan Friedman and Corky Siemaszko (New York Daily News) refer to Nouri as "Iraq's power-hungry prime minister."

Yes, it is over for Nouri.  AFP reports, "Iran, a key ally of Iraq's sidelined Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said Tuesday it backed the legal process which led to him being replaced, following the nomination of Haidar al-Abadi as premier."  Key in losing Iran's support?  The work Ammar al-Hakim (leader of ISCI) and cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr who met face-to-face with Iranian officials repeatedly immediately ahead of the April election as well as after.

Though Little Saddam has not yet left the building, he's being encouraged to do so, loudly encouraged.  Martin Chulov, Luke Harding and Dan Roberts (Guardian) report:

Iraq's embattled prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, appeared to have lost his job on Monday, after the country's president appointed a rival Shia candidate to form a new government in a bid to end the deadlock that has paralysed the Baghdad government while jihadists have swept through the country's north.
Maliki had seemed to be clinging to his post, but he was abandoned by party allies and sidelined by religious and regional backers who no longer believe he can save the crumbling state.

The Guardian's Katharine Murphy notes US Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks:

With Nouri al-Maliki effectively deposed overnight by Iraq’s president in favour of the rival Shia candidate, Kerry said the Obama administration stood ready to “fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government”.
Kerry said the government in Iraq needed to create circumstances where the “forces of Iraq are not a personal force defined by one particular sect and sworn to allegiance to one particular leader, but .. truly represent Iraq”. With a new “inclusive, participatory” government in Baghdad, the US would “absolutely look to provide additional options” to help stabilise the country.

Swing that ass, Nouri.  You never looked so good walking away as you do today.

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