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Obama's Iraq policies questioned as Maliki consolidates authoritarian political control

Washington, Mon, 09 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 9 (ANI): The United States policies on Iraq have come under the scanner as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is moving steadily to consolidate his control over the country's institutions and security forces with the apparent acquiescence of the Obama administration, according to a report.

Since the US troops withdrew in December, Maliki has extended his reach to take on his political rivals, drawing accusations from Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish minorities that he is intent on establishing a dictatorship.

According to The Washington Post, Sunnis and Kurds have expressed anger at what they call Maliki's efforts to exclude them from power, and have accused the US of doing little or nothing to restrain his excesses or to press him to implement agreements under which he pledged to share power.

Disgruntled Sunnis say their sense of disenfranchisement has never been greater, and Kurds also feel being alienated from the central government, the paper said.

According to the paper, Sunni concerns have recently crystallized around Barack Obama's nomination of Brett McGurk, a lawyer who has frequently advised the US Embassy but is not a diplomat, to be the new ambassador to Iraq.

As the chief adviser to Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, McGurk is closely associated with the US' controversial 2010 decision to support Maliki's candidacy as the better hope for future stability over that of Ayad Allawi, the head of the Iraqiya bloc.

Iraqiya has backtracked on a threat to boycott McGurk should he be confirmed, but Sunnis said they would be deeply unhappy with an appointment that they suspect points to a likely continuation of 'unconditional' US support for Maliki, the paper said.

Meanwhile, Maliki's aides are happy with McGurk's nomination and, more broadly, with a US policy toward Iraq that they describe as far less intrusive than it was when American troops were present. (ANI)


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