Iraq’s Presidency Demands Suspension of Pro-Maliki Militias

Persistent complaints by Iraq’s Kurdish parties over Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s creation of “Support Councils,” militias allied with him and operating under a similar basis to the Sunni Awakening Councils have led to an ever escalating feud with top officials in the regional Kurdistan government.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Maliki hit out at the presidency’s silence regarding several Kurdistan actions, particularly the deployment of the peshmerga. The Kurdistan President’s office initially declined to comment on the accusations, but later said it would reply in the future.

Though Maliki seemingly sought to antagonize the Kurdish government yet again, he rather appears to have attracted the interest of the national government’s presidential council, who demanded today that he suspend his Support Council pending a review of their legality.

With all the concern about the councils among Kurdish politicians, it is unsurprising that Kurdish President Jalal Talabani would take an interest in the issue. However, the statement was also authorized by both of Iraq’s Vice Presidents, Sunni Tareq al-Hashemi, and fellow Shi’ite Adel Abdel Mahdi, signaling that Maliki now faces a much broader array of forces in opposition to the prime minister having his own personal militia on the national dole.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.