A source close to former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has made it known that since he left the top executive role his sights have remained set on returning; he believes strongly that he is the most deserving of being prime minister and he was robbed of the position. His arrogance apparently reached the point where he thinks that he alone is capable of managing Iraq’s affairs uncontested.
He has been like this since he was forced to step down. This, said the anonymous source, has prompted him to act both secretly and openly to set traps for those who were destined to be appointed after him, and even those who were nominated for the position but did not get it.
He remains hopeful that he will have the opportunity to return as prime minister. It is known that a wicked gesture brought him to power, after the Americans saw him as a “goose that lays the golden egg”: he was obedient, willing to serve and accepting of commanding guidance. However, it seems that Al-Maliki deceived them, and as soon as he was able to, he turned his back on the US and gave his loyalty to the Iranians, who granted him their confidence and turned him into a sort of “high representative” for Tehran in Iraq.
This is not Al-Maliki’s only characteristic; from the beginning he was mean in other ways, perhaps the least of which were his statements made in debates on public affairs which sought to apportion blame, especially when confronting the young people of the October Revolution who reflected the aspirations of most Iraqis for a better life. They did not have this better life due to the sectarian “political process” and they exposed the paralysis caused by corruption and crime and demanded their rights as human beings as well as equal citizens.
In a recent televised interview, Al-Maliki described the young people as anarchist, outlaw groups that destroy, kill and sabotage, and said that it is the government’s duty to deter them in order to restore the prestige of the state. He also said Nasiriyah and other provinces have fallen and there is a need for a plan to enforce the law there and mobilise, as well as deal with those who violate the sovereignty of the state. He compared the fall of Mosul during his time in office with what is happening in Nasiriyah and Basra today. In order to clear himself of any responsibility for what happened in Mosul, he claimed that he had succeeded in keeping Daesh away from Baghdad and achieved national reconciliation. These are things which — and he knows this full well — he failed to do, and Daesh returned to the country with even more evil.
Let us remember that Al-Maliki had previously attacked the protest movement in several areas of Iraq, claiming that the protesters were loyal to the embassies and served foreign parties. He is thus concerned that if the protest movement triumphs, he will end up being indicted and tried for his actions when he was the senior official during the worst period in Iraq’s history. He knows that he will face many charges, including the fall of Mosul; the Camp Speicher massacre; crimes against humanity; human rights violations; the waste of natural resources; and the loss of more than $100 billion, as well as spreading sectarian and doctrinal strife. Just one of these charges would be enough to destroy his dreams and end his political career.
Al-Maliki’s documented campaign against the members of the protest movement reflects explicit incitement of the militias following him to move against the activists and get rid of them. Information from many sources suggest a systematic correlation between such incitement and what is described as a secret document exposed recently with a list of activists’ names that was reportedly prepared by Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the leader of the Popular Mobilisation Forces at the time, at the request of the late commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qasem Soleimani, who oversaw Tehran’s Iraq file. This was a kill list to put an end to the protest movement at any cost, because it crossed Iran’s red line and questioned its domination in Iraq, and demanded that Tehran’s proxies in Baghdad should step down.
The former prime minister has another goal for escalating his discourse against the October Revolution, which is to lure current Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi into taking specific positions so that he can be embarrassed before being pushed out. Al-Kadhimi has grown close to the protesters in the movement and has promised to consider their demands. Al-Maliki let this slip out when he said that some of his followers asked him to allow them to organise demonstrations against Al-Kadhimi, but he said no, preferring to wait and see what the latter would do.
The response to Nouri Al-Maliki’s proposals by the young protesters in the October Revolution was unequivocal. They burned his image and wrote: “We are here [on the streets] without a mask, so he should remember that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 26 August 2020
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.