Iraq: Maliki Being Angled Out
Big news in Iraq, not unexpected.
Iraq's major Shiite parties announced a new coalition Monday that excludes Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, a development that will likely force the prime minister to join forces with non-traditional allies if he seeks to keep his job after parliamentary elections in January.Maliki has been quite the survivor, but this will be too much. The implication for him is that he'll be out very soon.
If the new Shiite coalition remains intact and secures a majority of seats during the Jan. 16 vote, Iraq's next government likely would be run by leaders with deep ties to Iran, which would considerably curb American influence here as U.S. troops continue to withdraw.
For Iraq, the tectonics are such that the Shia "rump" will start to behave more as a de facto region of Iran. If for some reason Iraq holds together after a further US military withdrawal, it will evolve into something like an Iranian satellite. This might not be an entirely bad thing, given the Sunni and Kurdish fractiousness and all the required balancing acts that situation would entail. An independent Iran/Iraq/Af-Pak could act as a greasy syncro-mesh between China, Russia, India, and the West. One might think of of this mythical, admittedly optimistic place as a sort of earth-bound Tattooine for oil deals.