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Mon Aug 11, 2014, 05:30 PM


Pres. Obama Pledges Support for a New Iraqi Leader (my own view fwiw)

New York Times World ‏@nytimesworld 1m
Obama Pledges Support for a New Iraqi Leader http://nyti.ms/1oEBMnu

EDGARTOWN, Mass. — President Obama said Monday that Iraq had taken a “promising step forward” in forming a more inclusive government even as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki appeared to resist efforts to replace him as the country’s leader.

Speaking briefly to reporters from his vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Obama did not mention Mr. Maliki but pledged his support for Haider al-Abadi, the man chosen to succeed him. And Mr. Obama vowed to step up his support for a new government in its intensifying fight against Sunni militants.

“There will be difficult days ahead,” Mr. Obama said. “We stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces.”

The president spoke as the president of Iraq, Fuad Masum, named Mr. Abadi to succeed Mr. Maliki as prime minister. It was less than a day after Mr. Maliki demanded in a television address that the nation’s army come to the defense of the constitution and his right to stay in the office he has held for eight years.

Mr. Obama has previously said that support for the Iraqi government is dependent on a new government that includes all of the country’s factions to unify against the militants. In his remarks Monday evening, Mr. Obama praised Iraq’s leadership for beginning the process of building that government.

“Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort,” Mr. Obama said.

read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/world/middleeast/obama-pledges-support-for-a-new-iraqi-leader.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimesworld&_r=0

here's a sightly different account w/new info:

____ The Iraqi political system is in crisis, with the country's parliament electing a new prime minister to replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is so far refusing to leave office. It's not clear whether or how Maliki, who has taken an increasingly authoritarian turn during his eight years as Iraq's leader, might try to cling to power. The Obama administration has said very clearly that it's ready for the next Iraqi government. Here's what we know so far about the crisis and where it could lead Iraq next.

The crisis began late Sunday, at 12 am Baghdad time: the deadline for Maliki to form a new governing coalition in the country's parliament. When he missed the deadline, he announced that he would be staying on as prime minister anyway. On Monday, Maliki's own party voted for a new leader party leader: a member of parliament and former finance minister named Haider al-Abadi. He will legally become the next prime minister if he can form a government within the next 30 days. Iraq's president, whose position is otherwise largely ceremonial, gave Abadi the authority to do that. All of this bring Abadi very close to replacing Maliki as prime minister. But it's still unclear whether Abadi will be able to form a new government — or whether Maliki will let go of power peacefully.

This political crisis started because Iraqi parties couldn't agree on forming a government. Maliki's State of Law coalition won a plurality of Iraqi seats in the April elections, but he couldn't figure out how to put together a coalition large enough to get a governing majority by the Sunday midnight deadline. Part of the problem here is factionalism: Iraqi politics are divided along largely sectarian lines. Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds mainly vote for sectarian parties (Maliki is part of the Shia majority), and there's also competition even inside the sectarian blocs. Abadi, just appointed to replace Maliki as the leader of the State of Law coalition, is now trying to form his own governing majority, which would make him prime minister.

Maliki is now legally obligated to step down. After Maliki's Sunday night announcement that he planned to stay on as prime minister, his own party took that choice away from him. About 50 members of parliament from the State of Law coalition — over half of the party's total numbers — voted to nominate Abadi for Prime Minister rather than Maliki. That means Maliki no longer controls the largest bloc in parliament, and therefore no longer has any claim to be prime minister. Legally, he is required to abdicate in favor of Abadi once Abadi puts a government together. So far, Maliki hasn't.

Maliki wants to stay on. Maliki was very clear on this point in his speech on the Sunday midnight deadline: he's staying in office. Legally, he can stay on as caretaker prime minister, unless Abadi forms a new government, in which case Abadi will legally replace Maliki as prime minister. If that occurs, then one of three things happens: Maliki is persuaded to step down peacefully, he's ejected by force, or he manages some long-shot political compromise that allows him to stay.

Abadi was appointed to form a new government. Abadi, a reasonably popular Shia politician (who's open to overt Iranian intervention against ISIS), has been charged by Iraqi President Fuad Masum to form a new government. A rough count suggests Abadi has the support of about 128 members of parliament, which is still short of the 165 needed for a majority . . .

read more: http://www.vox.com/2014/8/10/5989367/maliki-iraq-coup?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=voxdotcom&utm_content=monday

my own view, fwiw:

. . . I personally didn't agree with the autocratic way Maliki lead the Iraqi government or military, but I don't feel comfortable at all as an American talking trash about what the Iraqis should do with their political system of government.

That said, let me talk a bit of trash . . . I think that now the Iraqi parliament has spoken, the onus is correctly on Maliki to respect that process; just as he expected them to as he challenged the Iraqi president and parliament to name a leader last night. They've acted according to their political process, as he demanded, and he should respect their choice and adhere to Iraqi law and their constitution.

That said, I don't believe it's the business of our government to dictate what happens in their political system and I'm not at all comfortable with the way our government and Pres. Obama appeared to be pressuring Maliki to step aside, even before their parliament had spoken.

It's further aggravated by the fact of our military forces and their direct action within Iraq, and our continued exercise of our 'counterterrorism mission within Iraq and the region which, in many instances, is at odds with sizable portions of the Iraqi population.

I DO think, so far, the President has been as careful as he can be with his rhetoric while exercising his very dangerous and destabilizing military deployment and strikes in Iraq. That's not to say that I don't view his military posture and activity as destabilizing and counterproductive to even his own stated goals. But I do see that he's walking a careful line with his rhetoric and that's appreciated by me, somewhat.

I'd like to see the U.S. disengage our military forces completely from Iraq, but I don't believe that's going to happen anytime soon. I fully believe Pres. Obama's military ambitions go far beyond rescuing Kurdish civilians off a mountain; or even are limited to preserving or defending the Kurdish state.

His stated intention in Iraq is to pursue his 'war on terror' from Iraq and I'm certain that we'll see much more military activity there which is removed from just focusing on ISIS/ISIL. That, I believe is unsustainable, counterproductive, and dangerously destabilizing, as history and even his own intelligence agencies are indicating today.

So, I hope for the best, and intend to continue to protest U.S. military action and ambitions in Iraq. I hope for the safety and welfare of the Iraqi people, above all other concerns. I think opposing, at least. unilateral, U.S. military action there is an integral part of that.

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Reply Pres. Obama Pledges Support for a New Iraqi Leader (my own view fwiw) (Original post)
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Mon Aug 11, 2014, 06:18 PM

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Mon Aug 11, 2014, 06:48 PM

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