Thursday, 1 December 2011

Iraq: Al-Maliki at a low ebb as regional autonomy demands grow

Iraq is lurching into yet another crisis. Things seem to be going from bad to worse and the optimism that accompanied the run-up to last year's elections is but a distant memory. Not only is the country still paralysed by an interminable political stalemate that has the various blocs at each other's throats, but the security situation is worsening by the week. The latest string of bombings and suicide attacks to hit the country is yet another reminder that, for all his pre-election promises, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has been unable to halt the tide of violence. It is also a reminder that the power sharing agreement drawn up after the March 2010 elections was not really a solution at all.

Rather it amounted to a quick fix that brought all sides together at the lowest common denominator in the interests of getting an agreement.

To make matters worse, calls from a number of governorates for the formation of autonomous regions are growing, placing additional pressures on the already beleaguered PM. Al- Maliki is desperately trying to hold things together, as Iraq's national unity is being seriously challenged for the first time.

Yet the premier knows that things are about to get a lot worse. The withdrawal of US troops at the end of the year will leave the country even more vulnerable to violence and to meddling by other regional powers. Iraqis are bracing themselves for what they believe will be a very rough ride.

For more news and expert analysis about Iraq, please see Iraq Focus.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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