Iraq's Maliki Steps Down "To Stop Bloodshed", Blames CIA, Supports Abadi As New Prime Minister

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Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has agreed to step aside and support his nominated replacement in the post, according to Shiite lawmakers via AP. In an statement on state-run TV, Maliki declared support for al-Abadi, leaving his post "to not let one Iraqi blood drop be shed because of me." 

 

 

Perhaps most notably, Maliki stated "Intelligence apparatuses behind the sectarian strife in the region." - CIA?

Via AP,

The Iraqi government says embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is to address the nation, as Shiite lawmakers say he has agreed to step aside and support his nominated replacement in the post.

 

Four senior Shiite lawmakers tell The Associated Press that al-Maliki has agreed to endorse Haider al-Abadi as the next prime minister following a meeting of Dawa party members in Baghdad late Thursday, ending the deadlock that has plunged Baghdad into a political uncertainty.

 

Hussein al-Maliki and Khalaf Abdul-Samad, lawmakers with al-Maliki and al-Abadi's State of Law parliamentary bloc, say al-Maliki will support al-Abadi's nomination in his speech Thursday night. Two other lawmakers, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting, also say al-Maliki will do so.

 

The government announced al-Maliki will speak Thursday evening.

 

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As NYTimes notes,

While the country is not at peace, Mr. Maliki’s decision, nonetheless, appeared to pave the way for the first truly peaceful transition of power, based on democratic elections and without the guiding hand of American military forces, in modern Iraq’s history.

 

In stepping aside Mr. Maliki agreed to end his legal challenge to the nomination of his replacement, which was made on Monday when Iraq’s president nominated Haider al-Abadi, a member of Mr. Maliki’s own Shiite Islamist Dawa Party.

 

...

 

Mr. Abadi, according to the constitution, has 30 days from the time of his appointment – which was Monday – to form a new government. During that time, Mr. Maliki remains the caretaker prime minister, and the commander-in-chief of the military.

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Who Is Haider al-Abadi?

Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite who was nominated Monday to be Iraq’s new prime minister, has 30 days to form a government with Sunni and Kurdish factions.

 

Mr. Abadi was named a deputy speaker of Iraq’s Parliament last month in a step toward ending a political deadlock.

 

He is a Shiite from Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's Dawa Party, and lived in exile in London during part of Saddam Hussein's rule, returning to Iraq in 2003.

 

As an adviser to Mr. Maliki, he was instrumental in expelling former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari from the Dawa Party in 2008.

 

In 2007 when President George W. Bush committed more American troops to Iraq, Mr. Abadi said, "The government believes there is no need for extra troops from the American side."

 

He was worried in 2006 about the stockpiling of weapons by Iraqis, aided by the American military presence, exacerbating sectarian tensions.

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Of course, what really matters is what concessions were offered.