An uncomfortable looking visage on Iraqi state TV, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki broadcast a call for “national unity” and an end to sectarian tensions in the face of a growing war.
It’s clear his heart wasn’t in it, and just a few hours prior Maliki was railing against neighboring Saudi Arabia, accusing them of backing “genocide” in Iraq before making a show of standing with Sunni and Kurdish politicians in front of the camera.
Behind the scenes, its business as usual, and the indications are that even as his country gets torn to bits the prime minister is working on further centralization of power with himself.
It’s not surprising. After all, the growing disquiet about the military advance has many believing replacing Maliki with a consensus-builder is vital, and the long-time PM clearly doesn’t plan on leaving without a fight.