Prime Minister Maliki’s chances for a third term as premier appear to be slipping away as he loses support from Iran. At least 179 militants were reported killed. Twenty-nine other people were killed as well. Only one person was reported injured.
A lawmaker close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and who is part of the State of Law coalition admitted that the group only has Maliki in mind as a candidate for premier, but with Iraq itself disintegrating, State of Law may be forced to select another. Thanks to his administration’s poor relationship with the two largest minorities in Iraq, wider support for Maliki is waning.
State of Law won the most votes in the last election and has the right to choose the candidate, but Maliki does not have enough votes in parliament to get the job without a fight.
Sunni tribes that currently support the Islamic State have offered to turn away from the militants with the condition that Maliki is denied a third term. They want to be fully reintegrated into the government, but Maliki has thwarted their every attempt, so far. After years of alleged abuse, it was only yesterday that Maliki finally tried appealing to them.
Maliki also has a bad relationship with the Autonomous Kurdish Government, and the Kurds are threatening total independence because of it. However, the Kurds are still participating in the Iraqi government. They are running Fouad Massoum as their candidate for president. By custom, that post has gone to the Kurds since the new Constitution was approved in 2005.
Now, even Iran appears to be conceding that their top choice has to step aside. Although they helped Maliki overcome tough negotiations after the last election, this time they may be putting pressure on him to step aside voluntarily. According to Iraqi officials, Maliki already refused this request, which surprised the Iranian representative, Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani is the commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s special forces and has been in Iraq guiding the Iraqi Army through the Islamic State crisis.
Other News:Human Rights Watch released a report calling on Iraq to stop targeting civilian neighborhoods for air strikes and warned the military that it could be engaging in war crimes. Witnesses in Baiji, Falluja, Mosul, Shirqat and Tikrit said that at least 75 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in the strikes. Only today, a hospital in Mosul was bombed. Previously, H.R.W. noticed that the strikes in Falluja, which have been going on for months, appeared to be purposely targeting the hospital there.
The United States warned Iraq of the Islamic State threat to Mosul but ignored it and rebuffed any offers of help.
In Shirqat, twelve people were killed, including women and children, in a government airstrike on a civilian neighborhood. Gunmen killed a woman who ran for parliament and wounded an activist for woman’s rights; both their husbands were kidnapped.
The bodies of eight soldiers were discovered outside Samarra.
A bomb in Mahmoudiya killed two people.
In Jalawla, militants killed six men who were related to policemen.
Security forces killed 50 militants in the Five Kilo area.
Security forces in Rawa killed 23 militants.
In Falluja, 22 militants were killed.
Security forces near Haditha killed 13 militants.
Near Duluiya, security forces killed eight militants.
A militant commander was killed in Tuz Khormato.
Three Peshmerga troops were kidnapped north of Mosul.
In Kirkuk, three employees were kidnapped.