December 18th, 2011
03:00 AM ET

Crisis plagues Iraq as U.S. troops depart

As the last U.S. soldiers exited Iraq Sunday and debate was raging about the nation's future, political crisis erupted in Baghdad that raised fears of more sectarian strife to come.

Iraqiya, a powerful political bloc that draws support largely from Sunni and more secular Iraqis, said it was boycotting parliament, a move that threatens to shatter Iraq's fragile power-sharing government.

The move pits the largely Sunni and secular coalition against the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Iraqiya contends al-Maliki is trying to amass dictatorial power and many believe al-Maliki was simply waiting for the Americans to leave before making his move.

It all makes for burgeoning political chaos and raises serious questions about whether democracy and human rights can take root in the war-ravaged nation.

"The only country that makes U.S. politics look like a picnic is Iraq," said Christopher Hill, the former U.S. ambassador in Baghdad.

Al-Maliki, Hill said, is a man who perceives concessions as weakness. He's a tough guy who knows what he's doing, Hill said.

He managed to forge relationships with the Kurds and peel off some Sunni support to build the majority he needed to put together a government, Hill said. But whether he is the man to unify Iraq, to lead it now, without American presence, is uncertain.

His rivals say that al-Maliki still controls the country's security ministries and all decisions go through him. They also say that the hundreds of people seized by the government in October for backing terrorism and supporting the banned Baath Party are Iraqiya supporters.

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Filed under: Iraq • Middle East • World
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. saywhat

    Hope & pray that the mind set that landed us in this disaster does not take hold of our collective psyche again.
    The likes of Bachmann, Gingrich , religious nuts, far right neo-cons & foreign lobbies are itching to push us towards a bigger folly.
    God help us.

    December 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • calipash

      Lets start a draft and all those who want to continue or start new wars have their sons and daughters be the first...we can start with Romney he has 4 sons.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pete/Ark

    Life is what it is...all the logic , reason , and example will not change hundreds of years of mindless volence and internecine warfare. We gave them the chance at a new beginning and they have chosen the old path. Let us go peacefully and leave them to self-determination. At no added cost to us...

    December 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rudy54

    Just brings a glow of patriotic pride to my heart to know we accomplished so much with all those billions of dollars and thousands of U.S. lives sacrificied for all those years.
    Thank you W, thank you...

    December 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Yeah, W. Thanks for nothing but death, dismemberment and deficit. (Oh, yeah, and

      December 18, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • calipash

      How could I forget....Americans were the only ones killed in Iraq......

      December 19, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. KcCritic

    All the time lost All the lives it costAll the manpower Every second every hour What do they do now? To whom will they bow? 2 steps forward/3 steps back Thats whats new in OLD Iraq

    December 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
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