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Maliki Asks For Air Strikes Despite Calls To Step Down

President Obama hasn't publicly called for Nouri al-Maliki to step down, but sources say the White House is already focused on a transition of power.

Maliki Asks For Air Strikes Despite Calls To Step Down
Press TV
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Lawmakers pressuring Obama to pressure Maliki. Many now say the Iraqi prime minister is incapable of ending the sectarian violence that continues to divide his country.

Seen by many as oppressing Sunnis, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki now faces nearly nonstop calls to step down as the head of the Shiite-led government. (Via Press TV)

Analysts point out Sunni Islamist militants in ISIS are linked to Al-Qaeda and, ironically, Sunni tribes helped drive ISIS' predecessor from the country in 2008. (Via YouTube / Nasrun min Allah)

‚ÄčEZRA KLEIN, VOX EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: "The Sunnis kicked out Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and we have put in this guy Maliki who then treated the Sunnis so badly that Al-Qaeda in Iraq was able to rebrand itself as ISIS, come back, and now they have support from that same group of people who kicked them out." (Via MSNBC)

LT. COL. BRAD TAYLOR (RET), U.S. SPECIAL FORCES VETERAN: "While we were there, Maliki was reaching out to the Sunnis. We left, he quit that. While we were there, he was paying the Sunni awakening tribes like we agreed to. We left, he quit that. While we were there, we built the army from the ground up." (Via Fox News)

More and more U.S. lawmakers are now openly calling for Maliki to step down, including Democrat and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. (Via C-SPAN)

While it's believed President Obama won't commit to U.S. military intervention until Maliki's government proves itself more inclusive of Sunnis, Maliki said Wednesday he would not step down as a condition of getting the U.S. to bomb ISIS targets. (Via The Guardian)

The administration hasn't said anything on the record as to calls for a change in the Iraqi government, but CNN reports senior U.S. officials say the White House is already beginning to focus on a political transition away from Maliki.

ISIS spent this week attacking and trying gain control of key pieces of Iraqi infrastructure like the oil refinery in Baiji about 150 miles north of Baghdad. (Via Sky News)

Thursday morning, witnesses told multiple wire agencies ISIS flew its black banners from the refinery, a presumed sign it had captured a huge strategic asset. The Iraqi government insists it still holds the refinery.