Can Al-Maliki save Iraq?

On a personal level Al-Maliki is an intelligent, educated man with a Masters in Arabic Literature. He is the grandson of a minister in King Faisal's government of the 1930 and has a love of poetry and football. He is married with 3 daughters and a son.

As he plans his strategy to defeat ISIS he is not alone.

He has talented ministers around him, including Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, a Shia, whose own resolute character was forged during years of torture and imprisonment under Saddam.

His Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, is well respected especially in Western Government circles, as is another deputy prime minister Rowsch Shaways, a highly intelligent and thoughtful Kurd.

We can assume Al Maliki will be tough in the coming days and he has already dispatched crack troops to try to defeat ISIS and retake Mosul. Hard fighting will follow.

But then there is another question.

Iraqi security forces have a reputation for abandoning their weapons and tearing off their uniforms when the going gets rough.

So Maliki, the strong man of Baghdad, the man the US has called on to "step up to the plate" may yet be stymied by his military's lack of appetite for a fight.

John Cookson has been reporting from Iraq for 25 years for international news channels including Al Jazeera English and Sky News.  Twitter: @Newsman1000

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15 Responses to Can Al-Maliki save Iraq?

  1. shackiraq 12th June 2014 at 11:49 #

    The sale of Iraqi Army leadership positions is perhaps one of the main reasons the Army fled. Inept leadership provide by the officers who bought they jobs have no training and are basically empty men whose thin shell will crack and crumble with the first shots of battle.

    Corruption has a very damnable effect on the structure of government and the Iraqi Army fleeing and tearing off their uniforms is only one of the effects. It is rot that destroys the core leaving only a weak shell that will fail every time there is a conflict.

    The Iraqi Army actions are directly reflecting on the inept leadership from the top.

  2. Ali 13th June 2014 at 11:03 #

    I can say definitely that Mr Al Maliki is the worse leader ruled Iraq from 1920 until now. He is looking very ugly, argent and brainless. Having said that all Iraqis must now stand together to stop the Wahhabi Invasion. Iraqi people have now good and helpful friends in free democratic World such as US, UK and many other countries. Iraqi people must be patient in this dark times and the God will help you.