Maliki's Last Option: The Only Natural Choice Left For Him Is To Move To Tehran Or London
02 September 2014
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Gaza's crisis will not succeed in diverting attention
away from the wars in Syria and Iraq. Indeed, these
two wars, particularly Iraq, may alter the course of
the region, and Iraqis may finally succeed in
achieving a safe and smooth transition to a new
government which has the support of the majority of
the Iraqi people. This will end the chapter of fear
and chaos and begin a new era.
Agreeing on a new government, a new prime minister, a
new president, and a new speaker of parliament will
save Iraq from chaos and partition, and will enable
Iraqis to confront terrorist groups and reform
relations with their neighbors.
One step is needed in Iraq to achieve this, and that
is appointing a new prime minister. In Baghdad,
politicians continue to besiege the stubborn premier,
Nuri Al-Maliki, whose legitimacy has been eroded.
After running out of tricks, he has said that he will
step down, but this will not come cheap. He has
stipulated 28 conditions, including legal immunity for
himself and hundreds of his followers to save them
from being held to account for corruption and crimes
committed during the eight years of his iron-fisted
rule. The conditions also included compensatory posts,
payments, and even real estate.
Maliki was very late in setting these terms, agreeing
only after political, religious and foreign powers
agreed to remove him. He's got nothing to bargain
over, other than attaining some sort of immunity—and
even that may not last long if more of his
mismanagement is exposed. If he seeks to stay safe and
prevent being prosecuted, his best option is to leave
Iraq. The only natural choice left for him is to move
to Tehran or London for a few years until the storm
passes. The legacy he leaves behind will make it
difficult for him to attain any definite assurances
from anyone. He worsened the animosity between him and
his opponents to the extent that scores of politicians
had to flee Baghdad to safe havens in Iraqi Kurdistan,
Jordan, Beirut and London. Meanwhile, he spent
billions of dollars on his presidential guards to
protect himself at the expense of protecting Iraq and
its people. He increased the number of presidential
guards in Baghdad from 6,000 to 70,000, and appointed
his relatives to oversee them. He thus followed in the
footsteps of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and
this is the secret behind Maliki's tyranny and why his
rivals feared him—he held personal command of a great
deal of military power.
Now that most of Iraq's political factions have agreed
to remove him, he is making exaggerated demands in the
hope that he will be able to impose his will on the
future prime minister and the new Iraqi government.
This may trigger a political battle in the future. In
return for stepping down he wants huge funds, real
estate, a force of 2,500 troops to be added to his
militias—as well as civil posts.
No one wants the departing prime minister to be
humiliated or subjected to revenge attacks. This means
the only safe option left for him after he leaves his
palace will be to travel abroad, although few
countries will welcome him.
Al Rashed is
the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is
also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat,
and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He
is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate
degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on
many TV current affairs programs. He is currently
based in Dubai.