[xxxx] Here is what we know thus far:
1. Maliki has stated that he will attend the opening of the new Parliament session.
2. Maliki has stated that the attempt to form a “salvation government” is an attempt to destroy the constitution of Iraq.
3. Maliki has made it clear that he intends to stay in office as Prime Minister for a third term.
4. Maliki has signed a letter that says that he will cooperate in the formation of the next government and that he would support “any candidate who achieves victory over terrorism.”
5. Maliki has committed to strive to form a new government by July 1 (promise to Kerry). .
6. State of Law insists that Maliki is still their candidate for a third term.
7. The Kurds stated to Kerry that they would attend the Parliament and would participate in the formation of a new government.
8. The Kurds have stated that there is no way that they will participate in a government that includes Maliki as its head.
9. The National Alliance has stated that a “new” Prime Minister candidate will be named within a few days.
10. The National Alliance has stated that it will nominate a new Prime Minister and that all people will welcome the change.
11. The National Alliance has stated that it will not nominate Maliki for the next Prime Minister.
12. Najafi has endorsed Mahdi for the position of Prime Minister.
13. The US has stated that they want Allawi to be the next Prime Minister.
14. The US has also stated that it is not their job to interfere in the internal decision-making of Iraqi politics.
15. The US has stated that they want Maliki to form an inclusive government that allows all of the sects to participate.
16. The US has stated behind the scenes (unofficially) that they want Maliki to go. (American news media, daily).
17. Kerry urged Maliki to resign.
18. All parties agree that the current insurgency crisis is political and not military.
19. We have not heard from Hakim, Al-Sadr, Allawi, Sistani, or Barzani for about 2 weeks.
So, what does this all mean? It clearly means that none of us can confidently say what is happening, since the media stories conflict with themselves in many cases.
However, we may have an inkling of knowing where this is heading. Maliki has promised to attend, stated he would step aside if a candidate who could defeat terrorism is named, and has promised Kerry that a new government would be formed on or before July 1 (he clearly can’t keep this promise).
At the same time his National Alliance has clearly indicated that it will not accept Maliki for a third term, and that it wants to nominate Mahdi for the position of Prime Minister. Najafi has stated that he would accept this nomination. The National Alliance was also confident that their “new” nominee would be widely accepted.
The Kurds are adamantly against Maliki but are desirous of participating in making a new government. I suspect that they will want the Presidency again, as they have had it for 8 years.
Therefore, I conclude, surprisingly enough, that Maliki may actually be replaced and that a new government will be created with Mahdi as the Prime Minister and Barzani as President. This runs totally counter to what we have learned about Maliki. Therefore, I hold this caveat: Maliki may stand firm, even against what is apparently a strong attempt to remove him from within his own National Alliance.****
If he steps down, we could see some significant changes in Iraq, to our benefit.
On the other hand, if he balks, which the media reports indicate is still a possibility, then there could be a stalemate created that could last for months. I would love to see Mahdi take over, if for no other reason than to see Maliki go away.
But there is a part of me that says that Maliki won’t go away, no matter what.
The next few days will prove to be interesting, to say the least.
Since I have covered both possibilities here, it is unlikely that I will be wrong. One or the other will win out.
I suspect we will know which within 2 weeks.