Adding to the chaos in Iraq this week is the political instability. That is to say, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will not step down from power as he continues to contest President Fouad Massoum’s recent decision to tap Haider al-Abadi as his new prime minister.
It was therefore expected this evening that President Obama would address this burgeoning crisis during his press conference. He did not. Instead, he issued a somewhat perfunctory and short statement reiterating the significance of Iraq’s recent elections, expressing optimism that its leaders would successfully go on to form a new coalition government.
“Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step,” he said.
He did, however, pledge unambiguous support for Iraq's new prime minister -- a direct and unmistakable rebuke to Maliki -- and vowed that the United States would do everything in its power to help with the peaceful transition of power.
“These have been difficult days in Iraq,” he said. “But just as the United States will [always] remain vigilant, we stand ready to partner with Iraq.”
The president took no questions from reporters after addressing the nation.