December 21, 2010 |
Iraq's parliament finally ended a nine-month political vacuum Tuesday, confirming Prime Minister Nouri Maliki for a second term at the head of a sharply divided government whose workings will largely determine how democratic the country can become. The last of the U.S. force that led an invasion more than seven years ago to oust Saddam Hussein and end his Baath Party's 35-year dictatorship is scheduled to leave by the end of next year. But the post-Hussein period has been defined by a political battle for primacy between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and a civil war that nearly destroyed the nation.
December 19, 2010 |
Iraq's parliament knocked away one of the last barriers to forming a new government Saturday when it struck down a ban on three Sunni Muslim politicians. The reinstatement of former lawmaker Saleh Mutlak and two other politicians virtually guaranteed that their secular Iraqiya bloc, popular with Iraq's Sunnis, will join Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's government. Different Iraqi political groups and U.S. officials have pushed for a coalition government with a big role for the country's Sunni minority, who after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 waged an insurgency against the Americans and the new Shiite elite.
November 25, 2010 |
Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose feared militia was crushed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki two years ago, has leveraged support for his former enemy's government into renewed influence over the country's security forces, governors' offices and even its prisons. In recent months, Maliki's government has freed hundreds of controversial members of the Shiite Muslim cleric's Mahdi Army and handed security positions to veteran commanders of the militia, which was blamed for some of the most disturbing violence in the country's civil war and insurgency against U.S. forces.
November 17, 2010 |
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki sat in a gilded chair Tuesday at the start of the three-day Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice. He rose to greet his guests in a newly furbished palace, built under the late dictator Saddam Hussein. Politicians came in their elegant dark suits; sheiks approached in their brown robes; generals marched in crisp uniforms, emblazoned with swords and epaulets. All kissed him twice on both cheeks. And Maliki smiled and whispered into their ears, or chuckled.
November 14, 2010 |
Iraqi lawmakers buried the hatchet Saturday, with public displays of goodwill and apologies over "misunderstandings," as parliament approved a broad agreement that will usher in a new government after a debilitating eight-month deadlock. Two days after they walked out of a raucous session that showed the deep rifts in the halls of power, members of the Sunni Arab-backed Iraqiya bloc returned to parliament for a final vote on the accord that saw Shiite Prime Minister Nouri Maliki maintain his hold on power.
November 11, 2010 |
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki appeared to lock up a second term in office Wednesday after a lengthy closed-door meeting of Iraq's political elite in which foes buckled to his demands for ending a dangerous eight-month impasse and forming a new government. It was stunning victory for the Shiite Islamist, who was plucked from obscurity four years ago to become prime minister during the worst of Iraq's sectarian violence, and a success for Iran. But it was a strategic defeat for Washington, which had pressed for a prominent role for Maliki's rival, and appeared to be caught flatfooted by the rapid developments.
November 4, 2010 |
Iyad Allawi, a secular politician who is Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's main rival for power in Iraq, warned in an interview with The Times this week that the country's security situation is likely to worsen after coordinated bombings killed 113 people in the capital Tuesday and extremists massacred 58 people in a siege of a Baghdad church two days earlier. Allawi, whose Iraqiya political bloc was widely supported by the country's Sunni Arab minority among others, won two more seats than Maliki's faction in March elections, which still have not produced a new administration.
October 25, 2010 |
Mohammed Husayn Jassim wasn't surprised when a notorious Iraqi police major arrested him on a lonely road outside an American military base as he left a meeting with U.S. special forces. The deputy governor of Diyala province knew that warrants hung over him and other Sunni members of the provincial council. He had heard the rumors that he could be grabbed at any moment. Still, while others hid, Jassim had kept showing up for work. He was a veteran of the war against the militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq, and when the fighting ended and politics resumed, he was elected in January 2009 to the provincial council, a mix of Shiites, Sunnis and ethnic Kurds that carried hopes for a new era of power-sharing and peace.
October 19, 2010 |
Iran's supreme leader urged the "speedy formation" of a new Iraqi government at a meeting Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who is visiting Tehran as part of a tour of regional countries aimed at securing support for his bid to keep his job. Maliki's visit underscores Iran's continued role as a major powerbroker in Iraqi affairs and a potential spoiler of the United States' plans to establish a more-inclusive and Western-leaning government....
October 18, 2010 |
After months of pressuring Iraqis to form a new government quickly, the U.S. is now urging them to slow down rather than rush into a deal that would run counter to U.S. interests and risk further destabilizing the country. The turnabout in the U.S. approach came after anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr's political faction agreed to support Prime Minister Nouri Maliki for a second term, propelling the incumbent close to the parliamentary majority he needs to keep his job. If Maliki can strike a deal with Iraq's Kurds, he will have enough support to form a government.