Maliki steps down as Iraqi PM
To the pleasant surprise of the watching world, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced on Thursday evening that he would not attempt to hold on to power. In a statement made on public television, Maliki stood side by side with his designated successor, Haider al-Abadi. It had been feared that Maliki would attempt to remain in the office that he has held for the past 8 years, but his decision not to fight the tide that has formed against him is seen as a testament to the strength of Iraqi democracy. In a pointed message to his Sunni Gulf neighbours, Maliki stated, ‘This was to show the senile regimes in the Arab world that we have a proper democracy.” The Arab monarchies have long been hostile to the Shia leader in Baghdad, whose sectarian policies have drawn him close to the ruling elite in Iran. The widely praised decision by Maliki will certainly improve his legacy. Many blame the former PM for the situation that Iraqis face today, with the rise of IS and almost certain national disintegration.