It was two days ago when we reported that America's third crusade in Iraq "Is Not Going As Planned: Iraq Prime Minister Defies US, Accuses Saudi Arabia Of "Genocide"", in which we said that "something unexpected happened: Iraq's Shi'ite rulers defied Western calls on Tuesday to reach out to Sunnis to defuse the uprising in the north of the country, declaring a boycott of Iraq's main Sunni political bloc and accusing Sunni power Saudi Arabia of promoting "genocide."... the Shi'ite prime minister has moved in the opposite direction of Obama's demands, announcing a crackdown on politicians and officers he considers "traitors" and lashing out at neighbouring Sunni countries for stoking militancy."
Furthermore, Maliki managed to infuriate not only the US with his intransigence, but more importantly Saudi Arabia whom he accused, accurately many would say, of being the true aggressor and instigator of sectarian violence, saying "we hold them responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that - which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites."
This promptly escalated when, as we wrote yesterday, "In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Arabia Fires Back At Iraq, Warns Of Civil War, Opposes Foreign Intervention."
That was just it: nothing but words, as certainly Saudi Arabia has zero diplomatic pull with Iraq. However, it does with the US.
Which is perhaps why the culmination of all the events in the past weeks was revealed overnight when when, as the WSJ revealed, "the Obama administration is signaling that it wants a new government in Iraq without Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, convinced the Shiite leader is unable to reconcile with the nation's Sunni minority and stabilize a volatile political landscape. The U.S. administration is indicating it wants Iraq's political parties to form a new government without Mr. Maliki as he tries to assemble a ruling coalition following elections this past April, U.S. officials say."
From the WSJ:
Such a new government, U.S., officials say, would include the country's Sunni and Kurdish communities and could help to stem Sunni support for the al Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, that has seized control of Iraqi cities over the past two weeks. That, the officials argue, would help to unify the country and reverse its slide into sectarian division.
A growing number of U.S. lawmakers and Arab allies, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are pressing the White House to pull its support for Mr. Maliki. Some of them are pushing for change in exchange for providing their help in stabilizing Iraq, say U.S. and Arab diplomats.
Here is how the US defines "democracy", courtesy of Dianne Feinstein:
The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) told a congressional hearing Wednesday: "The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation."
In other words, yet another majority-elected ruler is about to be replaced because the US is not quite happy with how he is operating. And to think this strategy worked out so well in Ukraine in the last few months.
Needless to say, one can't have yet another direct US intervention in another nation's affairs without John Kerry being present. Sure enough, he is:
Mr. Kerry was even more pointed in his criticism of Mr. Maliki on Monday, arguing his removal could help stabilize Iraq's sectarian divide.
"If there is a clear successor, if the results of the election are respected, if people come together with the cohesiveness necessary to build a legitimate government that puts the reforms in place that people want, that might wind up being very salutatory," he told Yahoo News.
Mr. Maliki's State of Law coalition won a plurality of seats, 92 out of 328, in Iraq's parliamentary elections. The country is waiting for ratification of the results, after which the parliamentary speaker will call on the leadership of Mr. Maliki's party to form a new government.
As we also noted yesterday, things in the middle east have flip-flopped so much in recent months, that Iraq, which for years was a close US ally has been left to fend for itself, while a sworn US enemy, Iran, is now America's closest middle-east ally, on par with Saudi Arabia. So much so that Iran may be instrumental in determining the next Iraq government.
Current and former U.S. officials said Iran will be crucial a player in efforts to form a new government in Baghdad and potentially remove Mr. Maliki, and will push for any new government to be friendly to its interests.
Tehran and Washington are Iraq's most important diplomatic, economic and military partners. And both the U.S. and Iran have pledged in recent days to support the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIS.
Former U.S. officials said both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations communicated regularly with Iranian diplomats in Baghdad during the political deliberation in 2006 and 2010 that previously elected Mr. Maliki. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns discussed Iraq's political reform process with Iranian officials on Monday in Vienna, according to the State Department.
And then there is of course, Saudi Arabia:
"We believe that Maliki's sectarianism and exclusion of Sunnis has led to the insurgency we are seeing," said a senior Arab official. "He unfortunately managed to unite ISIS with the former Baathists and Saddam supporters."
In conclusion, Iraq's third liberation, this time from a puppet government the US itself appointed to the country, is about to proceed, with the result being yet another puppet state, this time controlled by a joint venture of Iran and Saudi Arabia, which will be quite amusing to watch considering the two countries are hardly bestest buddies.
In the meantime, keep an eye on ISIS - the terrorist organization with the glossy annual report, which many say is merely a front for someone else, has managed to dig itself in within the Sunni communities in the north, and is the biggest wildcard. One wonders how long until the mercenary force finds its latest major backer, because for all the western, US-led intervention, both Russia and China are oddly missing from the scene. We expect that to change soon.