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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

London here I come



Iraq's PM longs to leave office

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has made clear he dislikes being the country's leader and would prefer to leave the job before his term ends.

In an extensive interview with a US newspaper, Mr Maliki said he would certainly not be seeking a second term.

A compromise choice, his tenure has been plagued by factional strife within both the country and government, and rumours the US has no faith in him.

"I wish I could be done with it even before the end of this term," he said.

"I didn't want to take this position," he told the Wall Street Journal. "I only agreed because I thought it would serve the national interest, and I will not accept it again."

Undermined

Mr Maliki, a stalwart of the Shia movement which led the resistance to Saddam Hussein, was sworn in as prime minister for a four year term in May after Sunni and Kurd parties rejected the Shia alliance's first nominee.

It followed four months of political deadlock.

He has since been undermined by sectarian tensions within his majority Shia alliance, as well as opposition from Sunni Arabs politicians who say he has not done enough to dismantle Shia militias.

The manner in which Saddam Hussein was executed has also increased the pressure on Mr Maliki's government.

Correspondents say mobile phone footage showing the former Iraqi leader being taunted as he went to the gallows will make it very hard for Baghdad to convince Sunni Arabs that his execution was not just an act of retaliation against their community by Shias.

posted by Steve @ 6:24:00 AM

6:24:00 AM

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