It's Maliki's Fault: Arrogance, Insolent PM Totally Responsible For The Chaos Threatening The Country
13 June 2014
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden must be laughing in
their graves at Nuri Al-Maliki, Iraq's current prime
minister, who is well known for his arrogance and his
Mosul and indeed the entirety of Nineveh province fell
into ISIS's hands earlier this week. Before that, vast
areas of Anbar had also fallen into their hands.
Salaheddine province could soon witness the same fate.
All this happened in a short time, surprising and
scaring the world. ISIS, an Al-Qaeda–inspired group
that Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from, has begun to
achieve the greatest terrorist victories seen since
9/11. It is crossing borders, cutting off oil
pipelines and seizing cities one after another. Do not
underestimate this quick and brutal group that seized
arms, warehouses and banks. They may soon climb the
walls of the capital, Baghdad, which is protected by
the same leaders who were defeated in Anbar and
Maliki—the Iraqi prime minister whose continued tenure
now depends on tough political wrangling and who three
months ago pledged to eliminate ISIS in Anbar within
two weeks—is to be blamed for the army's defeat. Did
his military leaders fail him? Or did he fail to
defend the two provinces because he focused instead on
settling political accounts, as his rivals claim? It's
not unlikely. After all, it was Maliki who dissolved
the Awakening Councils that fought Al-Qaeda following
the withdrawal of American troops just because they
were Sunni. The result was that ISIS returned and
seized Anbar and Nineveh provinces.
Unfortunately, Maliki persisted in settling his
political accounts under the excuse of fighting
terrorism—but he didn't really fight terrorist groups.
He adopted this style during most of his term in
governance, describing those who disagreed with him as
terrorists and forcing them to either flee the country
or submit to him. Thus when the battle erupted his
forces witnessed one defeat after another, because he
refused the reconciliation of political parties there
and because he abandoned the tribes who fought against
The army was thus fighting as a foreign party in its
A few days ago, Maliki altered his rhetoric and called
for "uniting efforts to fight terrorism and curb it."
His call came following his meeting with UN Special
Representative for Iraq Nicolai Mladenov. He said
there are "intentions to open the door to anyone who
desires to combat terrorism and to overcome disputes,
no matter what their political stance is." His words
are positive and differ from his previous rhetoric.
However, his problem is that his statements are not
The battle against terrorist groups will be long and
painful regardless of whether Maliki remains prime
minister. Still, he must resolve the anger civil and
military parties and tribes in Anbar and Nineveh hold
towards him. Without their cooperation, Maliki will
lose the war with ISIS, which could eventually reach
him in Baghdad. Maliki let Al-Qaeda grow and expand in
Anbar because he thought it would harm his rivals, but
he did not comprehend the threat posed by terrorism.
The Americans have gradually intervened since
December, when they realized that Al-Qaeda is growing
in a manner that threatens all of Iraq, and when they
realized that terrorists are preparing their forces
and intending to attack Baghdad. They brought his
attention to these threats and told him that Al-Qaeda's
power is growing in Anbar. They supported him with
reconnaissance operations from Jordan and used drones
to obtain further information on Al-Qaeda. They also
provided him with plenty of data and advice, but he
failed to hold a political reconciliation meeting, and
then his forces failed in Anbar.
Is Maliki the victim of his consultants? Some of his
ministers say that Maliki's advisers underestimated
the gravity of the situation and encouraged him to
involve the army, without the support of people who
live in the provinces the terrorists seized.
Whether it's his corrupt consultants or his
convictions, arrogance and insolence, Maliki is
totally responsible for the security failure and the
chaos threatening the country.
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.