THE US on Tuesday organised its own coup in Baghdad, attempting to place the previous long-term Maliki ally, Haidar al-Abadi, into the office of Prime Minister.
This was the American response to Prime Minister Maliki’s move on the Monday when he referred Iraqi president Fouad Massoum to the Supreme Federal Court (SFC), after he refused to recognise Maliki, the leader of the largest parliamentary bloc as prime minister.
After the referral, Maliki organised his own paramilitary forces alongside army units to occupy strategic points throughout Baghdad, threatening to squash any move to remove him.
Massoum then recognised al-Abadi as prime ministe-designate, while US officials issued dire warnings to Iraqi army commanders not to intervene.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday urged the Iraqi ‘prime minister-designate’ Haidar al-Abadi to quickly form an inclusive government. Kerry said: ‘We are urging him to form a new cabinet as swiftly as possible and the US stands ready to support a new and inclusive Iraqi government and particularly its fight against ISIL,’ after annual security talks in Australia.
‘Let me be very clear, we have always wanted an inclusive government that represents . . . all Iraqis. That is the goal.’ In fact the first thing that the victorious US did in 2003 when it arrived in Baghdad was to ban the Ba’ath Party and dissolve the army and state administration.
Kerry added that it was important that ‘the forces of Iraq are not a personal force defined by one particular sect and sworn to allegiance to one particular leader, but they truly represent Iraq and Iraq’s future in a broad-based sense’.
Abadi, long considered a close Maliki ally, has formally 30 days to form a government, amid hopes that a broad-based cabinet could serve as a foundation for healing Iraq’s deep sectarian divides.
Meanwhile, there are massive demonstrations taking place throughout the Iraqi capital of Maliki’s supporters, with the pro-US forces now deeply split after the US-organised coup move.
The Supreme Federal Court (SFC) yesterday issued a verdict that Maliki’s State of Law Coalition (SLC) is constitutionally the largest parliamentary bloc. In another development on 11 August, Muqtada al-Sadr, a religious leader and the former leader of the Mahdi Army, that fought the US occupation, warned that an attack on Baghdad by Islamic State militants is imminent.
He called on his Peace Brigades militia, formed in June and currently tasked with protecting Shiite religious shrines in Samarra, to move to Baghdad to take up similar duties there.
Maliki in the past year has consolidated control over the security apparatus by establishing extra-constitutional security bodies and creating a direct chain of command from commanders to his office.
Al-Maliki’s Dawa Party has dismissed the nomination of Haider al-Abadi for the country’s new premier.
The party said in a statement on Monday that al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition holds the majority of seats in parliament and only accepts him as the nominee for premier’s post. Khalaf Abdul-Samad, a member of the Dawa Party, said al-Abadi ‘only represents himself’.
Al-Maliki’s son-in-law, Hussein al-Maliki, also said on Monday, ‘We will not stay silent,’ adding, ‘The nomination is illegal and a breach of the constitution. We will go to the federal court to object.’
The US-sponsored coup in Baghdad has shattered the Shia movement, and has created the most dire conditions for combating the US’ ally in Syria, now its enemy in Iraq, ISIS.
The prospect is that in order to hold onto Iraq’s oil wealth, US ground forces will have to be committed to Iraq, once again. The British ruling class will then have to make a decision that will be vital for its future as a ruling class – this is whether to join the US forces on the ground without reference to parliament, openly defying the masses, or risk defeat in parliament once again on a war vote, as they experienced over Syria, and then face the consequence of being brought down.