U.S. officials call on Maliki to step down
A number of US officials have, either directly or indirectly, said that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki should “go” as militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are committing atrocious acts against Iraqis.
“The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation,” said the chairwoman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney also claimed on Wednesday that the current crisis in Iraq is the result of Maliki’s policies. “There's no question that not enough has been done by the government, including the prime minister, to govern inclusively, and that that has contributed to the situation and the crisis that we have today in Iraq.”
On Tuesday, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is widely expected to be preparing for a run in the 2016 presidential elections, also said that “the Iraqi people need to think seriously about” another leader if Maliki is not the kind of leader who can “be much more inclusive.”
Over recent days, ISIL militants have taken control of some key northern Iraqi cities including Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, and Tikrit, the birthplace of former Baathist dictator Saddam Hussein.
The militants, who have posted pictures of their atrocious acts against Iraqis online, have vowed to continue their offensive towards the capital Baghdad but Iraqi armed forces have advanced toward their strongholds.
Maliki has said that the country’s security forces would confront the terrorists, calling Mosul seizure a “conspiracy."
He has blamed Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing Riyadh as a major supporter of global terrorism.
In an interview with Yahoo News on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration is “open to discussions” with Iran and does “not rule out” military cooperation with the Islamic Republic to help resolve the crisis in Iraq.
However, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said Tehran sees no need to negotiate with Washington on the issue, adding that the Iraqi army is capable of dealing with the crisis itself.
Jim Dean, managing editor and columnist at Veterans Today, told Press TV this week that Washington and its allies have been training and funding the ISIL militants and now “are trying to cover up their behinds and then try to dump it in Iran’s lap which Iran is going to be way too smart to do it.”