Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered special forces loyal to him to deploy across strategically important locations in the capital city of Baghdad today, a move nominally in response to a rumored coup against him but primarily focused on preventing his replacement with a new premier by parliament.
In setting the stage for a battle against a putative coup against his continued rule, Maliki appears to be taking steps toward a coup of his own, effectively cementing his rule in Baghdad through force of arms.
This has long been a concern among Maliki’s political rivals, as he refused to name a Defense Minister or an Interior Minister, keeping those posts himself, as a way of centralizing all armed forces under his direct control.
The US State Department responded to Maliki’s moves with a statement backing President Masum, and calling for Maliki’s replacement with a “PM nominee who can build a national consensus.”
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