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. Andreas Moser

    You might still miss us.

    December 18, 2011 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. ┴┴∩И╛╛∩Я ( ½ ELF slayer & ½ BUGBEAR KILLER )

    they need a good strong leader to show them the way..
    kinda like sadam.. cept a little nicer..

    December 18, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. gung hoe

    For everyone that thought oh its over well there ya go 4500 lives lost for nothing .We went there to stabilize that country which we did now we leave it goes right back to what it was.If we wasnt going to help keep that country stable you people were right should of just let saddam murder innocent people

    December 18, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    "Crisis plagues Iraq after troops leave" lol. Crisis was the result of invasion.
    A whole region destabilized , no strategic ,political, economic goals achieved. Iran now a firm influence, other powers unscathed gleefully reaping the benefits of our blunders.
    What that ignorant fool of a dictator Saddam was doing comes nowhere near the death & destruction that destroyed the country after the invasion and plunged the people in an unending misery. He would surely have met his deserved fate at the hands of his own people in time.

    December 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ┴┴∩И╛╛∩Я ( ½ ELF slayer & ½ BUGBEAR KILLER )

    it reminds me of when my parents went to work and the babysitter quit and left us alone...

    December 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sorensen

    When does America learn that it has neither the cultural or historic background to evaluate other countries fate.
    Direct threats to American security – Yes.
    Badly conceived, thought out and horribly executed involvement – NO.
    Total waste of lives and treasure. And worldwide ridicule.
    Get out of Afghanistan now.

    December 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Leonidas

    IRAQ WAR ENDS TODAY. Where's that headline? I was watching CNN recently as they reported on the "controversy" over ending the war. The only controversy is a bunch of Republican shills who want to make Obama look bad. During their "reporting", CNN 'was showing footage of US troops street-fighting in Iraq.

    Sorry, but if I see street fighting on a "cable news network" I'm going to assume it's going on right now. It took me a minute to realize this was old recycled video, probably from the Bush Era. This is a severe breach of journalistic ethics. CNN should stop taking their "news" and talking-points from Fox and the wing nuts who hate our president and want our nation and economy to fail.

    They'd love to start another war if they could. Here's a CNNews Flash: The purpose of the Bush Iraq-attack was to DEstabilize Iraq and STABILIZE OPEC oil prices. Now they can charges us a much as they want without Saddam threateining to sell at a discount. All the traffic will bear, as the robber barons used to say.

    December 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobcat ( in a hat )

    Well that sure didn't take long, did it ? Our troops hadn't made it across the border yet, and already the real powers are rearing their heads. All those years, all those deaths, and for what ? ! Thank you Mr. Bush and company.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Iamrightyouarewrong

    Good morning fellow dweebs and dweebetes.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Occupation of Iraq


    December 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mr. Bush and Co.

    @Bobcat (iah) You're welcome. There aren't very many people here on CNN that appersheate what I done for US. Wanna go shoot some wild exotic animals with me and Ted Nugent later on? He's my neighbor in Crawford, TX married to this gal he and his wife adopted years ago. It's a hoot. Ya'll oughtta come on down.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobcat ( in a hat )

    Thank you Mr. Bush for the invitation, but as I am currently busy welcoming our troops, (who you so crassly exposed to the fiasco known as Iraq),home , I am at this time compelled to decline your kind offer.

    I hope you are cherishing those fine profits from the oil deals over there.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jody

    Our troops should have never gone in the first place. I sure hope that we can avoid this kind of tragedy in our future. Those people hate the USA with a passion and I can't say that I blame them. This will always be a place of trouble and our killing one evil man won't change it in the least. Please lets keep our nose out of other countries business.

    December 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Could not agree with you more. However the war drums are already sounding against Iran by the Republican hopefuls. If a Republican gets elected – watch out. We are headed into another war.

      December 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    What does one expect?
    I expected this.
    Most thinking people did.

    December 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |

    The us goverment cant breath without its nose up every bodys ass holes

    December 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Could not have said it better!!

      December 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
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