Everybody from the US to the Kurds to the Sunni insurgency, and even Shi’ite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani agree that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki needs to step down for there to be any sort of serious attempt to salvage Iraq as a plural society.
Everybody is on board, except for Maliki himself, and he and what political allies he has left are looking to make a fight of it, with longtime aide Sami Askari insisting the current turmoil should ensure Maliki’s continued survival and that “Iraq cannot afford a leadership change now.”
How he hopes to sustain power is unclear though, as even his own State of Law Party is reportedly having conversations with other factions about joining a new coalition government without Maliki in the top spot.
Perhaps the only thing working in Maliki’s favor at this point is how few really high-profile possible replacements there are, with the choices so few that even the notorious Ahmed Chalabi, the architect of the disastrous US occupation, is considered among the front-runners.
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