BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s incumbent prime minister ordered the security forces on Tuesday not intervene in the current political crisis over who will be the next prime minister, amid fears that he might go to any lengths to stay in power.
Nouri al-Maliki urged army, police and security forces in statement to stay out of the political crisis and focus on defending the country. On the eve of the announcement Monday that many of his political allies were abandoning him, the prime minister ordered troops into the streets.
Iraqi President Fouad Massoum has named the deputy speaker of parliament, Haider al-Abadi from al-Maliki’s own Dawa Party, to form a new government — a move the incumbent has angrily rejected.
Yet al-Maliki appeared even more isolated Tuesday as Iraqi politicians and the international community rallied behind a Shiite premier-designate who could be a more unifying figure, badly needed if the nation is to confront a spreading Sunni insurgency.
Al-Maliki, however, raised the specter of further unrest by warning that Sunni militants or Shiite militiamen might don uniforms try to take control of the streets on the pretext of supporting him.
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