Iraq: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Better PR, But Abadi Is Cut From the Same Cloth as Maliki

A long-standing leader in the Islamic Dawa Party who spent decades in exile and returned to Iraq during the US occupation, quickly rising in the fledgling political scene.

Are we talking about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, or Prime Minister-Designate Hayder Abadi? It could be either, and that’s the big problem with the deal on “regime change” in Iraq, it really doesn’t matter and is leaving roughly the same person in charge.

The primarily difference between Maliki and his successor is that Maliki, once the darling of the US and Iran, has fallen out of favor in the face of soaring sectarian tensions and mounting losses against ISIS.

Abadi is basically Maliki circa 2006, an adherent to the same Dawa ideology beholden to the exact same political interests. The primary difference is that he hasn’t got eight years of failures, and thus doesn’t have the public relations problems of the outgoing PM.

All the talk of Maliki’s divisiveness cost him the foreign support critical to remain Iraq’s ruler, but there is no indication at all that Abadi is planning any serious changes to the status quo, and plenty of reasons to believe he’ll go down the same failed path Maliki has.

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.