Is Anyone In Control? The Iraq "Post Coup" Confusion Deepens

Tyler Durden's picture

While the US is alternating between bombing the north of Iraq, and occasionally paradropping MREs and jugs of water to keep up the "noble" facade of intervention, it is very much unclear if Iraq currently has a government and in fact, who is in charge. As reported yesterday, current PM al-Maliki, seemingly unhappy with relinquishing power when a new Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi was chosen, decided to conduct what many described as a military coup and encircled the residence of the president. Since then things have gotten quite confusing.

As Reuters summarizes, "Iraq's president named a new prime minister to replace Nuri al-Maliki on Monday, urging him to form a broad government that can stem communal bloodshed, but it was unclear whether Maliki would bow to U.S. and Iranian pressure to step aside.  A Shi'ite Muslim blamed by erstwhile allies in Washington and Tehran as well as Baghdad for driving the alienated Sunni minority into revolt, Maliki deployed loyal militias and special forces in the capital on Monday after making a defiant speech accusing the head of state of abusing the constitution.

There was no immediate reaction from Maliki to the naming of Haider al-Abadi as prime minister. However, Maliki's son-in-law, a close political ally, told Reuters that he would seek to overturn the nomination in the courts.

President Fouad Masoum asked Abadi, a leader of Maliki's Islamic Dawa Party, to lead an administration that can win the support of a parliament elected in April. In remarks broadcast on television, Masoum, an ethnic Kurd, urged him to "form a broader-based government" over the next month.

Abadi, who spent decades in exile in Britain during the rule of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, promptly assumed he was in control and urged national unity against the "barbaric" Islamic State. However, the Maliki faithful have little desire to go gentle into that good night: "We will not stay silent," Maliki's son-in-law Hussein al-Maliki said. "The nomination is illegal and a breach of the constitution. We will go to the federal court to object."

And just to complete the confusion, this is where the US got involved:

After Washington endorsed Masoum's attempts to break three months of post-election political deadlock that have hamstrung Baghdad's response to the Islamic State, Secretary of State John Kerry called on Maliki not to resort to force or "stir the waters" when Iraqis were seeking a change of leader.


In pointed remarks, he said: "The government formation process is critical in terms of sustaining stability and calm in Iraq and our hope is that Mr. Maliki will not stir those waters.


"There will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitution process that is in place and being worked on now."


As police and elite armed units, many equipped and trained by the United States, locked down the capital's streets, Kerry added: "There should be no use of force, no introduction of troops or militias in this moment of democracy for Iraq."




Before Abadi's nomination, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman reaffirmed support for a "a prime minister who can represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people by building a national consensus and governing in an inclusive manner".


"We reject any effort to achieve outcomes through coercion or manipulation of the constitutional or judicial process," she said in a statement, adding that the United States "fully supports" Masoum as guarantor of Iraq's constitution.

This culminated when none other than VP Biden called in: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden congratulated Haider al-Abadi on Monday for being Iraq's designated new prime minister and pledged U.S. support for an inclusive Iraqi government, the White House said. "The prime minister-designate expressed his intent to move expeditiously to form a broad-based, inclusive government capable of countering the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and building a better future for Iraqis from all communities," the White House said in a statement about the telephone call. "The vice president relayed President Obama's congratulations and restated his commitment to fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government, particularly in its fight against ISIL," it said.

Of course, if left on its own, the situation would likely have promptly subsided with Maliki quietly exiting stage left. However, now that the US has made its intentions quite clear, and considering the US tracked record in recent years of picking the "winning candidate", suddenly all bets are off.

Then again, it may no longer matter just who, if anyone, is in charge: on Monday, police said the fighters had seized the town of Jalawla, 115 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad, after driving out the forces of the autonomous Kurdish regional government.

Because should ISIS take over Baghdad, watch as that that aggressively suppressed "Iraq geopolitical risk" crude premium soars through the roof.

Finally, it is not as if ISIS has no leverage: recall that the nuclear option before the jihadists is still on the table. Should all else fail, it can just blow up the Mosul dam it took over in the past week, flood the Tigris plain and countless Iraqi cities, culminating with Baghdad ending up under 16 feet of water, something which would make life for Joe Biden's son, Hunter, who may then also be named on the board of some leading Iraqi energy company in addition to Ukraine's Burisma, quite unbearable.

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smlbizman's picture

so nice...had to post it twice....

SoberOne's picture

Abusing the constitution?  You don't say!

power steering's picture

Every time Muammar Obama encourages the overthrow of a government the sheet gets deeper.

Pure Evil's picture

Are you asking the question in the headline about Iraq or the US government?

Who's in control when Obama's out golfing or taking selfies in the bath house?

ZerOhead's picture

The same people who are in control when Obama is actually in the Whitehouse...

NidStyles's picture

No one? I'm barely in control of my own bowel movements, that is about it. I am willing to bet it's the same for everyone else.

knukles's picture

The Gods of Madness reign. 

Pure Evil's picture

I really don't see how this will affect Joe Biden's son.

Isn't he one of the "folks" from Elysium?

Ya know, one of those that lives in an orbiting space station while the rest of the dregs toil below on the planet surface.

DeadFred's picture

Someone asks "Who's in control here?". A voice from the north answers "I[S]IS"

max2205's picture

At this point what difference does it make.

Inclusive? Gay marriage legal in Iraq your ass

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

Joey Biden: "Iraq will be one of the great achievements of this administration."

knukles's picture

That's "Captain" Joey


And the Dems were worried about Sarah Palin. 
So we wound up with the real doozies

Sooo fucked up....
Such a mess...
Alack and alas...

Miggy's picture

This is the very defintion of the cold war.


John 3:16

palmereldritch's picture

Obama is a top notch constitutional lawyer.  If anyone can fix this's him

EDIT: That one was so ripe the sarc tag kept falling off. Let me try this


sgt_doom's picture

Of course, we should always believe everything written in Foreign Policy, since that IS owned, after all, by Graham Holdings Company, former owners of WaPo, whose family was quite connected to the Fed and the CIA. 

Yup, I believe everything they, and Morty Zuckerman, always spew forth. . .

NidStyles's picture

Control is an illusion ;-) 


You can not rule the masses with an iron fist, it always ends the same way, with the tyrants dead. The only reasonable method is to convince the masses that you're in control, or that being under someone's "control" is preferable to the alternative. It doesn't matter if that alternative is based on a logical fallacy or not even real. As long as the illusion is maintained, you have control. 


In that way, it doesn't matter if something goes wrong as long as you can spin the narrative about who is responsible and why the state should have control, and you merely have to push those masses until they start creating the revolts and violence you have been fabricating to maintain that illusion. Then it's that fabled self-fulfilling prophecy concept.


Peaceful resistance is the only solution that stops the state without blood shed.

MarsInScorpio's picture

Another stellar example of the Obama administration's handling of Iraq.


These people are beyond incompetent . . .


Aknownymouse's picture

O so now Maliki will join ISIS to fight against the US and the new PM, while ISIS fights against Maliki because he is a shiite and the US and the new PM. And Iran would support Maliki because he is a shiite and work with ISIS against the US, but fight agaisnt ISIS because theyare trying to kill all iraninas sine they are shiites. And while the new kirdish PM Fights against ISIS, while shiites and sunis fight agaisnt the new PM and all kurds because they are trying to rob the oil from the north.

I see. Got it now.

knukles's picture

Kid... I like your style.

LawsofPhysics's picture

please,  it's always about the children.  So long as the spice keeps flowing, nothing changes...

same as it ever was.

Pure Evil's picture

Man, this Shiite should be on TV. More drama than a network soap or a cable reality show.

palmereldritch's picture

ISIS aa doubledouble postpost

Jumbotron's picture

"Since then things have gotten quite confusing."


Well of course they are silly.  This is Iraq.....home of Babylon.....from the word Bilbel.....meaning confused.

Nothing has changed in over 4,000 years.


"Those who do not know history....are doomed to repeat it."

Arthor Bearing's picture

Fractured and confused democracy versus focused and motivated caliphate. Place your bets.

johnvallo's picture


Jim in MN's picture

Yes.  Just support any instance of the New National Party going into 2020 and everything will be fine.

Dr. Engali's picture

Double tap for double the clicks.

Slave's picture

Easy to do by accident with a Glock 20.

10mm's picture

You have good taste. 

Dr. Engali's picture

Hmmmmmm.......Which one to post on?

smlbizman's picture can contradict urself, than up and down arrow each....everybody gets a trophy that way

knukles's picture

That's retarded.
Do I get a trophy now, too?


F0ster's picture

Can cockroaches swim?

knukles's picture

Just like 2 legged sand fleas and Ebola

somecallmetimmah's picture

"Is Anyone In Control?"

Bwah-Ha Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Hey, what's the deal with the 'dent' in that guy's head?!?

the grateful unemployed's picture

Maliki has all the appearances of the head of government in exile. now if some school kid takes that head to show and tell, well that's another story

williambanzai7's picture

Hunter Biden is Mad Hedge Fund traders god son.

sgt_doom's picture

Well, well, well, you finally got something right, bainzai!