The PJ Tatler

Obama, Iran Agree: It's Time for Maliki to Go

During his odd Facetime address Monday, President Barack Obama demanded an inclusive government in Iraq, and backed Iraq’s newly appointed prime minister over Nouri al-Maliki, who has been the country’s divisive, sectarian PM for eight years.

President Obama tried to push Iraq’s power-hungry prime minister off the stage Monday — unreservedly throwing his support to a possible successor.

But a defiant Nouri al-Maliki gave no sign he was about to yield to American pressure, and special forces loyal to him continued to fan out across Baghdad — raising fears of a possible coup even as the government fights Islamic extremists in the north and west of the country.

Complicating Obama’s stance are the fact that he left Iraq prematurely, leaving barely any American influence, and his own record of running a rather divisive, even sectarian government here at home. He isn’t much for leading by example.

So Obama said what he said. The big, maybe bigger question hanging out there, was, what would the Iranians do? They have been backing Maliki as a fellow Shiite. They have more influence over Iraq than the United States does.

Tehran dropped him today.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary and representative of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, made the announcement in Tehran.

“We congratulate Haidar al-Abadi on his nomination as prime minister, for him personally and for religious dignitaries, the Iraqi population and its political groups,” Shamkhani said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Shamkhani had earlier been quoted as saying that Iran backed the legal process which led to Maliki being replaced, following the nomination of Abadi as premier.

But congratulating Abadi was a step further and signalled that Tehran was no longer willing to fight in Maliki’s corner.

With Maliki still controlling some of what’s left of Iraq’s army around Baghdad, we still have the makings of a second civil war kicking off amid the civil war that ISIS has already created.