Time to Change Maliki

January 9, 2012

When something does not work, you fix it. If it stops working again, you may try to fix it one more time and then replace it with another or a better device. The same is true of people. If someone is hired to do a job and fails to perform, he is warned that he must change; if he does not change, then he should be replaced.

Less than a month after the prime minister stood in front of the international press at the White House, declaring that Iraqis are capable of taking care of their own country, we are seeing a gradual handover of the same issue from the U.S. to Iran and Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoğlu said in Tehran that they had discussed the Iraq situation and are extremely concerned about it. He told reporters that “Turkey and Iran can contribute to a solution in Iraq and Syria.” He added that much of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of both countries. “The regional awakening in the Middle East will make us and our relations stronger. We are now laying the foundations of an era that could last a century,” he said. Davutoğlu drew attention to the impact of recent developments in determining the future of the region. He stressed that the “attitudes taken today” will be crucial.

This development is the start of direct regional interference in Iraqi affairs on behalf of Iraq’s own warring factions. It is also a clear indication of the failure of the Iraqi government to fix anything in the country and further proof of the immature leadership that the United States handed Iraq over to.

The statement of Davutoğlu is a clear indication that settlement of the current crisis in Iraq will not come from Baghdad, Arbil or Najaf. The solution is going to come from Tehran and Ankara, with Washington watching and hoping for the best.

If this happens, and it is only a matter of time, then the will of the Iraqis to determine their future will be in the hands of their neighbors, each of which has a different agenda and vision for the country.

The only way to prevent this is for Iraqi leaders to change their ways — to change their behavior and change their divisive ideas of the country. Each group needs to seriously rethink its position on every issue.

The Arabs of Iraq, especially those in power, must realize that Iraq is not one nation, one sect and one region. They need to accept the idea that no man or group of people can rule this country alone.

The Sunnis are starting to realize this, hence their recent shy calls for regions to rule themselves by themselves; the Shia are objecting.

This particular attitude is the cause of all problems. Maliki initiated the recent crisis, thinking that he could rule alone. He immediately started to talk about a majority government — a pseudonym for a Shia dominated government.

A long anticipated national conference could be the last chance for all. If the leadership of the country does not change, then it should be replaced.

If Maliki does not start to behave like a statesman, then he too should be replaced. It is impossible for a country like Iraq be led by someone who can only see his rule, his sect and his party, and who has a track record of failure on every single aspect of governance, starting with security and ending with the most basic services. His only achievement has been to move Iraq from being the second most corrupt country in the world to the fourth.

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