SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) – Mohammad Salih reports on the machinations of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who may be plotting a comeback. Maliki, who leads the State of Law Coalition — the largest Shiite block in Iraq’s Council of Representatives (parliament) — visited Sulaimaniyah last month to meet with leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Movement for Change (Gorran) parties, which formed an alliance in May. Maliki did not meet with Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, sparking questions about Maliki’s ultimate intentions.
Salih speculates that Maliki’s prospects for a return to power are “unclear.” He writes that the former prime minister “not only has strained relations with large segments of Iraq’s Kurdish and Sunni communities, but also seems to have a serious popularity deficit among Shiites as well. He has been a constant subject of popular anti-corruption protests, as his government was viewed as corrupt and incompetent by many Iraqis. It also remains to be seen whether the meetings between Maliki and PUK-Gorran leaders will lead to joint efforts in the Iraqi parliament in the coming months.” www.mesop.de