BAGHDAD – The Obama administration’s Iraq policy is in chaos. Seven months after Iraq’s national elections, the United States has publicly denied taking sides in the wrangling over who will be prime minister. Privately, however, the US is backing the incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki.
The US has applied tremendous diplomatic pressure on Iraq’s Arab neighbors to get them to accept another Maliki term. Most have refused. Initially, the US backed Maliki in order to keep the Sadrist bloc from gaining a share of power. However, that has now backfired, since the Sadrists are the only group other than Maliki’s coalition of Shia parties that supports him.