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Political Turmoil in Iraq, President names Deputy Speaker as PM
Aug 13, 2014

Iraq’s new President Fouad Massoum snubbed the powerful incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and nominated the deputy parliament speaker Haider al-Ibadi to form the new Government, raising fears of more infighting in the Government as country faces the threat of Sunni militants in the north.

Meanwhile the Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq. Previously, the US had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi Government in Baghdad, but the Kurdish fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State militants.

Fouad Massoum gave Haider al-Ibadi 30 days to form a new Governmet and present it to parliament for approval. Al-Ibadi, who pledged to form a Government to protect the Iraqi people, was nominated for the post by the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of Shiite parties that al-Maliki’s State of Law is part of, but has turned against him. Al-Maliki’s Shiite-dominated bloc won the most parliament seats in April elections and the PM sees himself as rightfully keeping the post. Al-Maliki threatened to file a suit against the president for neglecting to name him PM and demanded he be renominated. Herefused to go after deploying militias and special forces on the streets, creating a dangerous political showdown in Baghdad. 

The new political crisis comes just days after USA launched its first military action in Iraq since pulling its troops out in 2011. US warplanes have bombed Sunni insurgents from the Islamic State, who have marched through northern and western Iraq since June.

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