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Iran Backs New Iraqi Prime Minister

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:51:32 +0000

Hemera/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Attempts by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to hang on to his job were dealt a major blow Tuesday when Iran's Supreme National Security Council declared its support for Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi.

Although an endorsement of Abadi by the U.S. and the West was expected, Tehran's announcement is particularly significant since Maliki has had close ties with Iranian leadership since ascending to power eight years ago.

In other developments, the top Shiite militia in Iraq, another one-time supporter of Maliki, also expressed its support for Abadi.

Although his political base appears to be crumbling as well, Maliki, for now, is going nowhere even as the country's security situation remains tenuous with the rise of the militant Islamic State in the north and west.

The fear is that Maliki could provoke an armed confrontation to remain prime minister, having deployed soldiers presumably still loyal to him on the streets of Baghdad.

However, Maliki, who claims Iraq's new Sunni president usurped the constitution by appointing his successor, may not have the stomach for deepening the chaos that already exists in his country.

He's quoted as telling his security chiefs "to distance [themselves] from the political crisis," a sign that he would prefer to resolve the conflict without bloodshed.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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