December 12, 2011
Anti-Baathist Campaign Undermines Iraq
Institute for the Study of War, Institute for the Study of War
In the days surrounding President Barack Obama’s announcement on October 21 to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the year’s end, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki commenced in a wide-scale campaign to purge hundreds of former members of the Ba’ath party from Iraq’s security apparatus. The sacking and arrests of rivals and independent figures, and their subsequent replacement with loyalists, has become common practice pursued by Maliki to consolidate power and marginalize political opponents. However, in contrast to other initiatives pursued by the prime minister to centralize power and resources, the domestic fears and concerns toward this recent campaign are exacerbated by the certainty of a full withdrawal by the U.S. military.