Nuri al-Maliki has said he wants to step down as prime minister of Iraq, as one of his advisers revealed that a man accused of recording Saddam Hussein's execution on his mobile phone has been arrested.I wonder if Maliki thinks it's "hard work" being Prime Minister. I expect his desire to bug-out has something to do with the intractable sectarian tensions coupled with the constant reminder that, should America leave, the heads of government might not live very long.
In a candid interview with an American newspaper, Mr Maliki said it was the most difficult decision he has made since he agreeing to become prime minister seven years ago.
"I only agreed because I thought it would serve the national interest, and I will not accept it again," he told the Wall Street Journal.
If offered a second term, he would not take it, and wishes to end his first term prematurely: "I wish I could be done with it even before the end of this term," he said, adding: "I would like to serve my people from outside the circle of senior officials, maybe through the parliament, or through working directly with the people."
Is it surprising that Prime Minister Maliki wants out? Of course not. He lives in Iraq, for god's sake! But it is an earthshaking surprise that he would come out and say so to the international press. Perhaps he's playing expectations, so that there wont be any surprises when the American forces confront Al-Sadr and Maliki's government crumbles.