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ARTICLE: Maliki has only himself to blame for Iraq’s crisis

By Zaid Al-Ali, The Washington Post,  June 26, 2014

THE WASHINGTON POST: Shortly after Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia were deposed at the start of 2011, large numbers of young Iraqis called for their own demonstrations against Iraq’s corrupt political class. Nouri al-Maliki, who had just started his second term as prime minister despite not having won the March 2010 elections, clearly felt at risk and promised that he would not seek a third term in office. Three years later, shortly before the April 2014 parliamentary elections, Maliki once again appeared uncertain of his own fortunes and declared that he would not insist on a third term. “My mother did not give birth to me to be prime minister,” he declared, in an attempt to appear humble before millions of impoverished Iraqis.

Yet, Maliki went on to outperform all rivals by a significant margin in April’s elections. His State of Law alliance obtained the support of 24 percent of the voting public and 92 seats in parliament; Maliki personally secured 720,000 votes. His closest rival earned about a third that amount. But this electoral victory was achieved before Maliki lost control over around a third of Iraq’s territory to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, an extremist organization, and before the army that Maliki had been micromanaging for years simply melted away. Although many outside observers have expressed shock at these developments, anyone who has read any serious analysis of Iraq’s current situation, including my book The Struggle for Iraq’s Future, would not have been surprised. Now, with a disaster – to which he has clearly contributed – staring him in the face, Maliki is insisting that he be returned for a third term.

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