Iraq: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki To Fall From Power

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's hold on power has become untenable. On August 11, Iraq's new president nominated Haider al-Abadi, a member of Maliki's Dawa party, to form a new government and replace Maliki, who has fallen out of favour with much of his Shi'a allies, Shi'a religious authorities, Sunni and Kurdish parties, and his key external ally, Iran.

Maliki's authoritarian style of governing and his sectarian policies have been a significant cause of divisions in the country, which are at the root of the ongoing political crisis. Abadi will probably succeed in forming an inclusive governing coalition over the coming weeks or months, and this will increase the likelihood that Iraq will maintain formal unity – as per our core view.

That said, the government in Baghdad will be unable to retake territory conquered by Islamic State in the north and west of the country, and the conflict will continue for years to come. We also flag risks that Maliki will seek to maintain power by force, unleashing a military confrontation among Shi'a political groups.

Further analysis of Iraq's crisis is available to subscribers at Business Monitor Online and also in our recent special report, Iraq Collapse Risks: Regional Implications.