Maliki Resigns

by Patrick Brennan

The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, resigned today, giving up his resistance to the nomination of a new leader for the country, Haider al-Abadi, a member of Maliki’s Shiite party. Nothing changes immediately: Maliki remains the country’s chief executive and commander-in-chief for 30 days or until Abadi has formed a new government. Maliki and his government have been heavily criticized for the current crisis facing the country — the rise of the Islamic State, a successor to the once essentially vanguished Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the Iraqi military’s weak response to the problem. (Maliki has exercised close control over the country’s army.)

Abadi was appointed as prime minister by the country’s new Kurdish president on Sunday — a new leader is a necessary but very far from sufficient step in building an Iraqi government, military, and civil society that can defeat the Islamist threat. As The Economist put it, “Mr Abadi is viewed by Iraqis as less divisive than Mr Maliki—but that is a low bar.”

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