US 'may plot assassination of Al Maliki'
By Basil Adas, Correspondent
Published: September 12, 2008, 00:30
Baghdad: Americans, increasingly resenting recent moves by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, could seek to topple or even assassinate him, says a secret report by a Kurdish political party, which is part of the national government.
The report, which Gulf News has seen, says Al Maliki does not want to see any US soldier in Iraq after 2011 and he preferred strong political, economic and military relations with the Americans but not the presence and influence of the US military in his country.
The latest US resentment stem from Al Maliki's strong stance in the current talks to reach a strategic security agreement between the two countries, the report said.
"Al Maliki has started to undermine the influence of those in the Iraqi military and security commanders who are classified as proteges of the Americans. This has raised concerns in the US military command in Baghdad. The freezing of the powers of the Iraqi Army's chief of staff, Babakir Zebari, is the first indication of this trend," the report said.
According to the report, the US suspects Al Maliki of getting closer to Iran in order to launch a broad military operation in Basra, Al Sadr City in Baghdad and Maysan province, in preparation for a complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
The report said the statement of Shiite leader Moqtada Al Sadr about converting most of the Mahdi Army into a social and cultural organisation, named Al Mumahidun, is part of the Iranian game.
According to the report, the US is weighing three options.
The first is to topple Al Maliki in parliament and bring vice-president and leader of the Islamic Supreme Council, Adel Abdul Mahdi, into power. Mahdi, according to the US, is more pragmatic than Al Maliki. He enjoys the support of Shiite leader Abdul Aziz Al Hakim. But this option may not hold as Al Hakim and Mahdi are both considered close to Iran as well.
The second option is to pressure Al Maliki to resign. But this is difficult as he heads an elected government.
The third option is an assassination attempt against Al Maliki with the help of terrorist groups, and to put in place a puppet administration favourable to the Americans.