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Iraqi Prime Minister refusal to step down increases risk of fighting between Shia militias in Baghdad
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Iraqi Prime Minister refusal to step down increases risk of fighting between Shia militias in Baghdad

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  • 1. Iraqi PM's refusal to step down increases risk of fighting between Shia militias in Baghdad By Meda Al Rowas, Senior Middle East Analyst, IHS Country Risk Situation: Iraqi security units loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were deployed in Baghdad today (11 August), at locations including the entrances to the capital and the Green Zone, while key bridges and roads within the city were cordoned off. The deployments came after Maliki referred Iraqi president Fouad Massoum to the Supreme Federal Court (SFC) for his refusal to recognise Maliki as the leader of the largest parliamentary bloc and appointing him as prime minister. The SFC issued a verdict earlier today that Maliki's State of Law Coalition (SLC) is constitutionally the largest parliamentary bloc. However, the SLC is currently divided and has not yet put forward a candidate. In another development on 11 August, Muqtada al-Sadr, a religious, political, and militia leader opposed to Maliki, warned that an attack on Baghdad by Islamic State militants is imminent. He called on his Peace Brigades militia, formed in June and currently tasked with protecting Shia religious shrines in Samarra, to take up similar duties in Baghdad. Significance: Maliki is increasingly likely to use force to protect his political position, even if the SLC opts to name another candidate for the premiership. Maliki has
  • 2. consolidated control over the security apparatus by establishing extra- constitutional security bodies and creating a direct chain of command from commanders to his office. This increases the risk of Maliki's rivals, who have access to their own militias, using force to attempt to remove Maliki, raising the risk of Shia vs. Shia infighting within the capital, and subsequently civil war risks affecting southern provinces such as Basra, Najaf, Karbala, and Maysan. De-escalation pathways include Maliki's rivals endorsing a third Maliki term and Maliki voluntarily stepping down or being forced out by his own coalition. At present, none of these de-escalation pathways appears likely. Danny Cheung Asia Pacific Director Corporate Communications 8 Marina View #12-01 | Asia Square Tower 1 | Singapore Phone: +65 6439 6192 | Mobile: +65 9171 3200 Danny.Cheung@ihs.com This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. Thank you.  Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.