By Anthony H. Cordesman
It is tempting to focus solely on the evolving political crisis and power struggle between Prime Minister Maliki and his opponents, but this is only part of the crisis in Iraq.
Iraq’s Broader Political and Governance Challenges
As the current political crisis makes clear, Iraq still does not have anything approaching a stable government – or fully functioning democracy -- some 20 months after Iraq’s most recent election on March 9, 2010.
The new leadership crisis, and Sunni-Shi’ite split that began on December 17, 2011 – just as the final element of US troops withdrew from Iraq – is only one aspect of the problem. It also reflects critical questions over whether Iraq’s democracy can survive the way its security forces are now being used. Prime Minister Maliki attempted to arrest Vice President Hashimi for ties to a Baathist threat to the government and unmarked armored vehicles were sent to intimidate members of the opposition al-Iraqiyya Party.
Al-Iraqiyya, the main opposition party charges that Maliki has taken control of the counter terrorism force and intelligence services, and is seeking to control the military by misusing his authority to make interim appoints at senior command levels. Sunni tension is rising in Anbar and Diyala Provinces, and Arab-Kurdish tension is rising in Mosul and Kirkuk.
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