Endgame: Maliki to step down, support Abadi as new prime minister of Iraq

posted at 4:04 pm on August 14, 2014 by Allahpundit

America was tired of him, Iran was tired of him, the Sunnis were really tired of him, even the country’s Shiite-in-chief thought it was time for him to move along. There’s no doubt he would have dug in on last weekend’s attempted coup if he thought the military would protect him, but they were prepared to cut him loose as well.

And so an ignominious reign ends with a whimper.

It was Sistani’s letter a few days ago demanding a new prime minister that sunk him, apparently. Without a Shiite base of support, he had nothing.

Whether you think this is good news or bad news depends on whether you think Iraq can and should be preserved as a nation. With Abadi now in charge, the U.S. will be inclined to stick with the dream of a single multisectarian Iraq for awhile longer. Maybe Abadi can make nice with the Sunnis, which in turn would make things harder for ISIS in Anbar province. If the Sunni chieftains there now have a reason to reconcile with Baghdad, there might be a new Awakening in the offing. Good news! On the other hand, bad news: The more the U.S. clings to the “one Iraq” idea, the more it necessarily resists the idea of an independent Kurdistan. It could be that Abadi’s going to get a trial run from the White House to see how he does in making the Iraqi army less sectarian and in making sure the Kurds get their fair share of U.S. aid and arms. If he follows Maliki’s lead and tilts towards Shiite hegemony, Obama can pull the plug quickly and throw in with the Kurds. And then that’s the end of Iraq as far as America’s concerned.

Why did Iran end up pulling the plug on Maliki, though? Did they conclude, anticipating Sistani’s move, that he had lost so much support even among Shiites that he was no longer an effective proxy? Or were they worried that Iraq really was on the verge of breaking up, with Baghdad about to lose what little influence it still has over the Kurds and Kurdish oil assets?

Update: Some people on Twitter are celebrating the fact we finally, finally have a peaceful transition of power in a democratic Iraq, which will hopefully set a precedent for governments to come. I guess, but Maliki only took the civilized route when he had exhausted all other options and alienated pretty much the entire country. He left because he couldn’t find enough people in the military to keep him in power at gunpoint. He could have done this years ago — and had the opportunity — but fought bitterly to keep power, and now the country’s on the brink of breaking apart and being overrun by barbarians. Some victory.


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Yep, Shep Smith just said everything is great now in Iraq….no worries.

d1carter on August 14, 2014 at 4:09 PM

obama to credit himself…even though it had nothing to do with him.

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Better late than never, maybe.

alchemist19 on August 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Dear Leader has been using his phone and his pen….to record his golf score and call everyone to let them know how well he is playing.

d1carter on August 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM

The NYT contradicted what will happen in Iraq, same day, two different articles…aid to go on, aid not to go on; same with bombings.

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM

“Bye, girl” — livelikeaslave

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

OT: Chris McDaniel campaign just filed legal challenge to the #mssen primary….

d1carter on August 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Why did Iran end up pulling the plug on Maliki, though? Did they conclude, anticipating Sistani’s move, that he had lost so much support even among Shiites that he was no longer an effective proxy? Or were they worried that Iraq really was on the verge of breaking up, with Baghdad about to lose what little influence it still has over the Kurds and Kurdish oil assets?

ISIS sweeping through Iraq would be bad for Iran. And Maliki proved to be the flashpoint in ISIS’s success.

Bitter Clinger on August 14, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Safeguard the unity & stability of Iraq? How can you safeguard something that does not exist?

Fenris on August 14, 2014 at 4:13 PM

He wasn’t even a good “strong” man.

Cindy Munford on August 14, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Am I the only one who is really tired of hearing about this terrible, backwards country?

No matter what we or any other outsiders do, the middle east is going to be an absolute hell hole for the foreseeable future. I’d like to move on to more domestic and prescient concerns.

Timin203 on August 14, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Dog Eater threatened to endorse Maliki, when he heard that and knowing what happens to those Dog Eater endorses, Maliki decided to get out while the getting was good.

Bishop on August 14, 2014 at 4:21 PM

This is good news. It gives the people of Iraq another (final?) chance to get their crap together.

Jack_Burton on August 14, 2014 at 4:23 PM

The Sunnis in Iraq want their own autonomous region similar to what the Kurds have. If they do not get it then the war will rage on in Iraq even if ISIS terrorists are annihilated. In fact if the Sunnis get their autonomous region in the four province where they are a majority then they themselves will fight and destroy ISIS terrorists, with US help of course, as they did to Al Qaeda terrorist during the US troops surge of 2007-2008. If the new Iraqi Prime Minister agrees with the Sunni demand for their autonomous region then he is not an Iranian stooge as Maliki was but if he does not then for certain he is an Iranian stooge and of course assuming that the Iraqi military and security forces are not just divisions of the Iranian islamic army….

mnjg on August 14, 2014 at 4:24 PM

I am glad that Maliki is stepping down–and with a shred of his dignity intact as it might prevent future political back-stabbing. The US should not have supported him the last time the government was formed, either.

Kevin K. on August 14, 2014 at 4:27 PM

http://www.breakingnews.com/

Iraq crisis
41m
Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki to concede defeat, back PM-designate Haider al-Abadi – @AFP, @BillNeelyNBC
End of alert

canopfor on August 14, 2014 at 4:27 PM

It was Sistani’s letter a few days ago demanding a new prime minister that sunk him, apparently. Without a Shiite base of support, he had nothing.

Sistani is nothing like the puffed up clerics of Iran. He firmly believes in the separation of mosque and state. Since the US invasion of Iraq, he had several opportunities to become Supreme Leader, and he turned each and every one down. He has consistently told the Shiites of Iraq to cooperate with the US and ignore Iran. Without him, I sincerely believe that the US would have lost a lot more troops than we actually did. Everyone needs to cross their fingers and hope like heck that Sistani lives many, many more years.

catsandbooks on August 14, 2014 at 4:33 PM

So we’re to believe that this Abadi dude is not an incompetent crook?

Time will tell I suppose.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 14, 2014 at 4:38 PM

He left because he couldn’t find enough people in the military to keep him in power at gunpoint. He could have done this years ago — and had the opportunity — but fought bitterly to keep power, and now the country’s on the brink of breaking apart and being overrun by barbarians. Some victory.

Talking about Barack Obama in January 2017, eh?

MichaelGabriel on August 14, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Dateline: January, 2017.

Update: Some people on Twitter are celebrating the fact we finally, finally have a peaceful transition of power in a democratic Iraq US, which will hopefully set a precedent for governments to come. I guess, but Maliki Obama only took the civilized route when he had exhausted all other options and alienated pretty much the entire country. He left because he couldn’t find enough people in the military to keep him in power at gunpoint. He could have done this years ago — and had the opportunity — but fought bitterly to keep power, and now the country’s on the brink of breaking apart and being overrun by barbarians. Some victory.

Only changed two words.

BKeyser on August 14, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Am I the only one who is really tired of hearing about this terrible, backwards country?

No matter what we or any other outsiders do, the middle east is going to be an absolute hell hole for the foreseeable future. I’d like to move on to more domestic and prescient concerns.

Timin203 on August 14, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Most of the people haven’t progressed beyond the year 1000. And ISIS hopes to take the rest back there.

txdoc on August 14, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Sistani is nothing like the puffed up clerics of Iran. He firmly believes in the separation of mosque and state. Since the US invasion of Iraq, he had several opportunities to become Supreme Leader, and he turned each and every one down. He has consistently told the Shiites of Iraq to cooperate with the US and ignore Iran. Without him, I sincerely believe that the US would have lost a lot more troops than we actually did. Everyone needs to cross their fingers and hope like heck that Sistani lives many, many more years.

catsandbooks on August 14, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Maybe because Sistani believes that he is the true supreme leader of Shia islam worldwide and not Khameni and the other islamic clerics in Iran…

mnjg on August 14, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Smart move because if he didn’t step down then somebody probably would have put a bullet in his head.

SoulGlo on August 14, 2014 at 4:58 PM

This guy is a Shia, too.
Not sure why Sunni’s will be too happy.
Iran happy he is Shia.

albill on August 14, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Why do I keep seeing pictures from Saigon ’63 in my head?

OT: Chris McDaniel campaign just filed legal challenge to the #mssen primary….

d1carter on August 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Yes!

formwiz on August 14, 2014 at 5:28 PM

I’m pretty sure he has siphoned off millions and deposited those millions in Dubai, where he will retire and enjoy the fruits of his ill-gotten gains, much like preznit AlwaysTardy will.

ExpressoBold on August 14, 2014 at 5:37 PM

To answer this:

It could be that Abadi’s going to get a trial run from the White House to see how he does in making the Iraqi army less sectarian and in making sure the Kurds get their fair share of U.S. aid and arms.

Square:

On the other hand, bad news: The more the U.S. clings to the “one Iraq” idea, the more it necessarily resists the idea of an independent Kurdistan.

with this:

President Barack Obama confirmed that the mission to save the Yazidis had been a success.

I’d say Obama suddenly backing off rescuing the Yazidis in Kurd territory is a signal to Baghdad that he’s letting them go back to the previous status quo and let Baghdad do the heavy lifting.

parke on August 14, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Maybe Abadi can make nice with the Sunnis, which in turn would make things harder for ISIS in Anbar province.

The Sunnis have been itching for an excuse to lay a lovin on the Shites. Here is their chance. Inclusivity conquers all.

BL@KBIRD on August 14, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Update: Some people on Twitter are celebrating the fact we finally, finally have a peaceful transition of power in a democratic Iraq, which will hopefully set a precedent for governments to come. I guess, but Maliki only took the civilized route when he had exhausted all other options and alienated pretty much the entire country. He left because he couldn’t find enough people in the military to keep him in power at gunpoint. He could have done this years ago — and had the opportunity — but fought bitterly to keep power, and now the country’s on the brink of breaking apart and being overrun by barbarians. Some victory.

Lets see, leave peacefully with his stolen stash from frugal savings of 324 million or die in battle or firing squad? tough choice. I think he calculated his chance of becoming total dictator like he wanted and settled for the better bet.

Corsair on August 14, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Welcome to democracy. This is what peaceful regime change looks like.

If Obama’s fiasco in Syria wasn’t spilling over the border, they’d be in pretty good shape.

TallDave on August 15, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Maybe Abadi can make nice with the Sunnis,

It’s the most likely outcome, but events are highly contingent. The Sunni tribes are probably ready to ditch ISIS by now, but they need a lot of help, and ISIS tends to send suicide bombers after anyone causing them trouble.

TallDave on August 15, 2014 at 1:29 PM