Iraq Watch: Maliki’s political opponents maneuver to unseat him, ISIS seeks allegiance from all Muslims


McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may not be able to muster enough support in parliament to keep his job.

The Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim, told ABC News in an interview that Maliki “has two obstacles. He must be accepted by both the national Shia Alliance, and by the other minorities.”

ABC News reports that Maliki doesn’t appear to have support from either of those groups to win a third term.

The Shiia prime minister, who has been criticized for not involving Iraq’s minority Sunni and Kurdish groups in the political process, has resisted calls for the formation of an emergency unity government in Iraq.

Iraq’s new parliament convenes on Tuesday following elections in April.

Here is a round-up of the candidates who might replace Maliki from AFP.

Other news from Iraq over the weekend:

- The Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Sunday declared it had reestablished an Islamic caliphate and demanded allegiance from all Muslims. The group said it’s name is now simply, “The Islamic State.” Read McClatchy’s report here.

- Isis ‘sleepers’ stand by to blast Baghdad, according to Britain’s The Sunday Times.

- Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s old home town, was the site of heavy fighting over the weekend between militants and the Iraqi army. The army sent in tanks and helicopters to battle ISIS militants near the University of Tikrit in the city’s north on Sunday, security sources told Reuters.

- Iraqi army spokesman Qassim Atta told reporters in Baghdad security forces had killed 142 “terrorists” over the last 24 hours across Iraq, including 70 in Tikrit, and said the armed forces were in control of Tikrit's university, Reuters reports. Both claims were impossible to immediately verify.

- Eye witnesses said Iraqi forces reached the outskirts of Tikrit, then retreated after being confronted by heavy fire from the militants, according to al-Jazeera. Journalist Abdulhamid Al Tikriti told Al Jazeera militants halted the attack of the government forces on four axis.

-Israel announced support for an independent Kurdistan on Sunday.

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