New PM Candidate for Iraq; 247 Killed in Battles, Airstrikes

Updated at 12:43 a.m. EDT, Aug. 12, 2014

Iraq has a new candidate for prime minister, Haider al-Abadi; however, the possibly outgoing premier, Nouri al-Maliki is putting up a fight instead of conceding that he likely no longer has enough votes to win a third term.. Meanwhile, 247 people were killed and 22 were wounded. One of the dead was a well-respected Kurdish journalist from Turkey.

Politics:

Today, President Fuad Masum named Haider al-Abadi as the new candidate for prime minister of Iraq. He was selected by the National Iraqi Alliance coalition and is currently the deputy speaker of the parliament. Abadi is also a member of the Dawa party, which is led by outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He now has 30 days to form a new government. During that time, Maliki continues to be the caretaker prime minister.

Maliki appeared on television again today. While he said nothing, another member of the Dawa party, Khalaf Abdul-Samad, declared the nomination illegal. Nouri al-Maliki’s son-in-law told journalists the former prime minister will try to have the nomination overturned in the courts. Last night, Maliki deployed special forces troops, militiamen and heavy weaponry ahead of this expected nomination.

In April, the State of Law coalition, of which Dawa and Maliki are members, won the largest number of seats during the election. This gave Maliki the belief that he might be able to serve another term, but even his coalition is not behind him. Over one third of its serving lawmakers are supporting Abadi. It is expected he will gain a majority, once the Sunnis and Kurds chime in, and be able to form the new government. The State of Law coalition is part of the larger National Iraqi Alliance. Haider, so far, has about 130 lawmakers behind him.

Perhaps thanks to the changeover, the U.S. government in now selling arms directly to the Kurdish government. It is suspected the C.I.A. is acting as the dealer. The administration had limited sales to the federal government in Baghdad, but those arms were not reaching the Kurds, and that lapse contributed to the Islamic State’s rapid advance across northern Iraq.

Fighting:

A Kurdish journalist, Deniz Firat, was killed during a mortar attack on August 8, while she was embedded with Kurdistan Workers’ Party fighters near Makhmour.

In Baghdad, a pair of bombs killed one civilian and wounded seven more. 

The bodies of two Sahwa members were found in Baiji.

A militant bomb instructor in Salah ad Din managed to kill himself and 21 recruits during class; another 15 were wounded.

Security forces killed 89 militants in Adhaim.

Airstrikes in Shirqat killed 54 militants.

In Jurf al-Sakhar, 19 militants were killed.

Security forces killed 15 militants in Haditha.

Nine militants were killed in the Himreen Mountains.

Clashes left seven militants dead in Barwana.

Seven militants were killed in Dijla.

Eight militants were killed in Khanaqin.

U.S. airstrikes in Bashiqa left six militants dead.

In Mosul, a senior militant commander was killed.

Read more by Margaret Griffis

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.