A series of recordings of Nuri al-Maliki have been released on Twitter which are causing the latest controversy in Iraqi politics. Maliki is heard attacking his main rival Moqtada al-Sadr as well as his allies within the Coordination Framework.
In one part of Maliki’s conversation he goes into conspiracy theories. He said Sadr was also part of a British plot to take control of Iraq. After that happened Sadr would be assassinated and power would return to the Sunnis. Maliki has always been susceptible to conspiracies. When he was prime minister he believed that the Baathists, insurgents, Turkey, Gulf States and others were all plotting against him. His reference to outside interference fits into his past although it’s odd that he brings up the U.K. since they haven’t had any real power in Iraq since the days of the monarchy.
What has caused the most problems for Maliki however is his comments about others within Iraq. For instance, he called Sadr a murderer for all the people his Mahdi Army killed during the civil war. Another time he said that his Fatah allies only cared about money and accused the Hashd al-Shaabi of being cowards. Maliki has been competing with Sadr for power for over ten years so condemning him was nothing new. His remarks about Fatah and the Hashd however were different. As Al Hurra reported these recordings seemed to be aimed at splitting the Coordination Framework which Maliki is a leader of. The list is already deeply divided because it can’t agree upon a candidate for the next Prime Minister. State of Law which holds the most seats within the alliance has put forth Maliki’s name, but he is opposed by many including members of the Framework. These audios only make that situation worse.
They have already led to the latest example of political violence. On Monday Sadrists took to the streets of Nasiriya to protest against Maliki’s remarks. Someone then shot at the house of a State of Law MP in that city. Before that the Framework carried out physical attacks against members of Sadr’s alliance. Maliki is even heard talking with an armed group about shedding blood in his dispute with Sadr. This has all added up to a rising tide of tension within Iraq that could explode into street battles which has happened before. The ruling parties are no closer to creating a new administration and if more Maliki tapes are released violence becomes more likely as frustration and anger grows.
Asharq Al-Awsat, “New Maliki Recording Reveals Coordination with Militia to Confront Sadrists,” 7/19/22
Ayad, Pierre, “Secret recordings deepen political crisis in Iraq,” France 24,” 7/16/22
Bas News, “No Casualties after Armed Men Attacked Maliki-Linked MP’s Residence,” 7/19/22
- “Sadr’s Supporters Protest Against Maliki,” 7/18/22
Al Hurra, “Al-Maliki denies the validity of a leak about the popular crowd,” 7/17/22
- “The war of leaks in Iraq … Will al-Maliki’s political life end forever?” 7/19/22
Al Mada, “Al-Sadr cuts the road to the third term over Al-Maliki: Resign from political work or surrender yourself to the judiciary,” 7/18/22
NRT, “State Of Law Coalition Selects Nuri Al-Maliki As Candidate For Prime Minister,” 7/3/22