Kerry warns Maliki as PM’s forces position themselves in Baghdad
posted at 8:01 am on August 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
It’s no secret how the US feels about Nouri al-Maliki. The Obama administration has sat on its hands while Iraq comes apart at the seams in part because the White House wants to avoid propping up Maliki, who has spent the last three years alienating the Sunnis and Kurds, weakening Iraq to the point of collapse against ISIS. The US wants Maliki out in order to get a government in Baghdad that can re-engage the coalition put together by the Bush administration in the Anbar Awakening so that the Iraqi military can by itself face the threat without forcing the US to intervene militarily beyond a few air strikes.
After Maliki’s surprise address last night, though, the US doesn’t appear to have much sway. The current Prime Minister deployed special forces loyal to himself in Baghdad in what looks very much like a coup to prevent the new parliament from electing his successor:
Special forces loyal to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad on Sunday night after he delivered a tough speech indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term, police sources told Reuters. Pro-Maliki Shiite militias stepped up patrols in the capital, police said. An eyewitness said a tank was stationed at the entrance to Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings. “We can see unprecedented deployment of army commandos and special elite forces … in Baghdad, especially sensitive areas,” one of the police sources said. The report could not immediately by confirmed by NBC News.