Nouri al-Maliki still doesn’t get it

Maliki wants his successor to carry on personal political battles, at a time when Iraq is going through its most serious crisis in 10 years

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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Nouri al-Maliki, who had described the appointment of Iraq’s new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as a “conspiracy” and that removing him from office violates the constitution, is today offering advice on how to save the country from a crisis he had created! Maliki, the prime minister who was pulled out like a bad tooth, wants Iraq to continue bleeding. He is now advising Abadi on how to govern! Don’t let them overrule you, don’t accept to be commanded, use the majority to impose the government you want, so goes Maliki’s advice.

What a twisted man, haunted by personal, trivial conflicts. Maliki wants his successor to carry on personal political battles, at a time when Iraq is going through its most serious crisis in 10 years. The crisis is even more serious as there is no longer an international force supporting Iraq nor is there an internal force that can be relied upon. The only solution is a successful national salvation project that safeguards the regime and an integrated Iraqi state.

It is not mandatory that Haider al-Abadi form a government made up of the parliamentary majority because the parliament does not reflect the true majority of Iraq, it would not be able to prevent the risks of disintegration and nor would it ensure the support to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al-Qaeda and rebels! So, what would a government formed by the political majority, like Maliki has advised, be able to do? Nothing. It is just a legal statement that cannot exist on the ground.

What really exposes Maliki’s ignorance is that he is actively seeking to form a parliamentary “majority” that ensures designating him for the formation of a government and ensures a majority of raised hands in parliament. It does not matter how people think outside the walls of the Green Zone. His main concern is on concocting a “majority,” buying votes and preventing opponents from winning; this is the axis of his political project.

Maliki has sunk into the despotism that eventually blinded him. He can no longer see that the country is sliding toward disintegration and terrorism because of his insistence on excluding all those who are not of his team and all the teams that he cannot control.

The narrow-minded Maliki is now urging his successor Abadi to reject what he described as “dictates,” advising him to resort to the formation of a majority government!

If the parliamentary majority was a successful project, Maliki would not have been forced to step down. How can he advise his successor to do so?

The demands of Iraqi citizens are not dictates. The Iraqi people are speaking out to express their desire to cooperate. Otherwise, these forces would have been entrenched in their regions, holding on to their weapons. It is not wrong for these angry groups to ask for the release of the detainees who are still without trial, and for the re-examination of the cases of those who were sentenced in suspicious circumstances under the Maliki’s clampdown. These are not dictates; they are trying to redress past mistakes and create a healthy and united Iraq. Under Maliki’s term, one third of the country was lost to terrorism; another third wanted separation, and the remaining third wanted Maliki out and does not want a another tyrant in power.

The man who ruined Iraq

Abadi should not listen to the man who ruined Iraq. He should see how all the Iraqi forces, even the opposition, are willing to cooperate with him; a scene that has not been witnessed since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Only a fanatic man like Maliki will not be able to see this positive spirit because he believes that Iraq is the Green Zone, where he works and sleeps.

Maliki wants his successor to carry on personal political battles, at a time when Iraq is going through its most serious crisis in 10 years

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The political process pledged by the prime minister-designate is not math. It is not just counting the number of raised hands in the Iraqi parliament; rather it seeks to bridge the gap, instill confidence, persuade opponents to participate, prepare for reconciliation between Iraqi parties and form a national government uniting the Iraqis. This is not a recipe that would work for Maliki whose euphoria of ruling Iraq made him unable to think rationally.

In his opinion, the parliament became limited to those who voted for him; justice prevailed through security investigators and judges who were appointed by him; and whoever disagreed with him was a rebel who was immediately accused of treason and conspiring.

Those who listened to his speech last Wednesday realized that Maliki does not understand why he was forced to stand down, nor does he understand that al-Abadi has come to save Iraq from his mistakes.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Aug. 23, 2014.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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