Just days after the US launched a campaign that implicitly aides the current regime headed by the supposedly outgoing PM, al-Maliki, it appears that latest US intervention has already led to "unexpected" consequences, this time with the prime minister appearing to have just staged a coup overthrowing Iraq's president President Fouad Massoum moments ago.
Reuters reports that the prime minister "indicated that he will not drop his bid for a third term and accused the president of violating the constitution in a tough televised speech likely to deepen political tensions as a Sunni insurgency rages. Maliki, seen as an authoritarian and sectarian leader, has defied calls by Sunnis, Kurds, some fellow Shi'ites and regional power broker Iran to step aside for a less polarising figure who can unite Iraqis against Islamic State militants.
The days of Iraq's president appear numbered:
Iraqi army is taking security forces positions in #Baghdad "to be prepared for every contingency if the next PM is declared." - Source.— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) August 10, 2014
Bloomberg adds that Maliki says he’s going to federal court to sue President Fouad Masoum for violating the constitution, according to comments made to Iraqi state television. President Masoum in breach when he extended constitutional period for chosing a candidiate to form government and for missing deadline for new period, according to Maliki. Maliki adds that Masoum is in a "coup against the poilitical process” that would lead “Iraq into a dark tunnel.” Maliki warned Presidential council, parliament and federal court about Masoum.
The news has promptly led the WaPo Beirut chief correspondent Liz Sly to ask the question: did Baghdad just have a coup 3 days after the US conducted its fourth military intervention under as many US presidents?
A coup in Baghdad? Maliki announces he won't resign and orders security forces on alert. So much for bringing democracy to Iraq.— Liz Sly (@LizSly) August 10, 2014
Others are inclined to agree:
Iraq in crisis. Maliki refuses to step down, attacks the President on live TV. Reports of forces massing in Baghdad, rumours of a coup.— Matt Cavanagh (@matt_cav_) August 10, 2014
And according to less credible sources, the army is already in play:
Odd timing indeed. One thing is certain: the US will not let this crisis go to waste either.
However, what makes this particular development especially interesting is that a very organized ISIS is already doing its best to conquer the Iraq capital. A very disorganized army coup may be all that was needed to facilitate this goal, and to put the Iraq oil trade "in play" once again.
And the worst news of all: Obama two-week vacation on Martha's Vineyard is ruined one day after it started.
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Update: things are not looking good:
Update 2: BAGHDAD GREEN ZONE CLOSED, TANKS DEPLOY IN CAPITAL: AL-MADA - BBG