Nouri Al-Maliki Agrees To Step Aside
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has apparently agreed to abandon his bid to stay in power:
BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Thursday night said he agreed to relinquish power, state television reported, a move that came after days of crisis in which Mr. Maliki’s deployment of extra security forces around the capital raised worries of a military coup.
While the country is not at peace, Mr. Maliki’s decision, nonetheless, appeared to pave the way for the first truly peaceful transition of power, based on democratic elections and without the guiding hand of American military forces, in modern Iraq’s history.
In stepping aside Mr. Maliki agreed to end his legal challenge to the nomination of his replacement, which was made on Monday when Iraq’s president nominated Haider al-Abadi, a member of Mr. Maliki’s own Shiite Islamist Dawa Party.
“Maliki steps down as prime minister in favor of Abadi,” the state television said on its Arabic-language news crawler.
Mr. Maliki’s decision came after days of negotiations with his former Shiite allies, who urged Mr. Maliki to give up in the face of growing international opposition to his rule, including from the United States and Iran, and the sense among most Iraqi leaders that his removal was necessary to bring the country together in the face of an onslaught by Sunni militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
If nothing else, this should avert the civil political crisis that many had feared in Iraq over the past week or so.