Iraq’s Shia PM Maliki may be Sacked to Placate Sunnis

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By Kalyan Kumar | August 11, 2014 3:00 PM EST

In Iraq, after the airstrikes, the focus is shifting to the political front, with efforts gaining pace to replace Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki-led Shia government. France upped the ante on Sunday when it openly voiced the demand for a change in regime, and called for an "inclusive government in Iraq to handle the current crisis.

Reuters
Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), carry weapons during a parade in the streets in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern Baghdad June 15, 2014. The insurgent offensive that has threatened to dismember Iraq spread to the northwest of the country on Sunday, when Sunni militants launched a dawn raid on a town close to the Syrian border, clashing with police and government forces.

This has made the position of Prime Minister Maliki more vulnerable and shaky. He is now threatening to sue the President for violating the constitution to defend his authority.

President Obama also made a veiled criticism of Prime Minister Maliki's government for having failed to share power with the Sunni minority, which had an upper hand during the Saddam Hussein regime.

Sunnis Disturbed

A report in Huffington Post said, many of Maliki's critics hold him responsible for having provoked the armed Sunni tribes and made them throw the weight behind the ISIS insurgency.

Maliki is a caretaker PM since the inconclusive election in April. He rejected all calls to step down in favour of a less divisive leader. The demand came from all sections including Sunnis, Kurds, Shiaites and regional power Iran.

ISIS Fury

Numerically, Shias dominate the population. But the Sunni dominated ISIS calls Shias as infidels. The fury of ISIS and advancement saw thousands of U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers fleeing the surging forces of ISIS (Islamic State) comprising Arab and foreign fighters. The militants swept through northern Iraq from eastern Syria. The collapse of Iraqi army put the Kurds and others in grave risk and became easy preys to the Islamic militants. The efforts of Iran trained Shia militias to hit back at ISIS, also failed.

The Sunni militants became more powerful in terms of resources after they snatched the tanks, artillery, mortars and vehicles of the fleeing Iraq army.

Arms for Kurds

In a belated wisdom of sorts, the Iraqi government on Saturday provided a planeload of ammunition to Peshmerga fighters of the Kurdish region. It was an unprecedented act of military cooperation between Kurdish and Iraqi forces, which jointly face a common enemy in Islamic militants.

At Erbil city, the scare of ISIS attack has prompted foreigners working in oil companies to leave the city. At the same time, native Kurds are stocking up AK-47 assault rifles for self defence.

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(Photo: Reuters / Thaier Al-Sudani)
Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), carry weapons during a parade in the streets in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern Baghdad June 15, 2014. The insurgent offensive that has threatened to dismember Iraq spread to the northwest of the country on Sunday, when Sunni militants launched a dawn raid on a town close to the Syrian border, clashing with police and government forces.
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