Will Iraqi PM Maliki Use Force To Stay In Office?

Shortly before a new prime minister was announced, Nouri al-Maliki called troops into Baghdad to take up strategic positions throughout the city.

Will Iraqi PM Maliki Use Force To Stay In Office?
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​Iraq's president nominated a new prime minister Monday, a crucial step in forming a new government. But current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is refusing to step down and may even try to hold onto the office by force.

For months now, Iraq's parliament has been deadlocked deciding on a new prime minister, and time finally ran out Sunday. After that, it fell to Iraq's president, a largely ceremonial position, to make the nomination himself.

And on Monday, he did, picking engineer-turned-politician Haider al-Abadi, seen here on the right. Abadi is a Shiite and a member of the current prime minister's party. 

If you've been following the story, you might have heard his name before: He made U.S. headlines earlier this summer for telling The Huffington Post that if the U.S. wouldn't carry out airstrikes against ISIS, then maybe Iran should.

Abadi now has 30 days to form a unity government, sharing power among Iraq's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Once he's done that, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is supposed to relinquish power.

Unfortunately, he hasn't shown much sign of being willing to do that. An Iraqi court ruled Monday that he could seek a third term, and he's vowed to challenge Abadi's appointment.

And in a worrying move, Maliki called in troops loyal to him to take up strategic positions throughout the capital. 

U.S. officials have been clear that they see an inclusive government as a necessary step in combating ISIS, which in the last few months has taken over large sections of northern Iraq and Syria.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA VIA THE WHITE HOUSE"There is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities."

The Obama administration has said Maliki is not the man for the job and that he ran a sectarian government that shut out minorities. It was no surprise, then, to see U.S. officials embrace Abadi's nomination.

Vice President Joe Biden called Abadi Monday to congratulate him, and Secretary of State John Kerry issued a fairly stern warning to Maliki not to "stir those waters."

"There will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitutional process that is in place."

Meanwhile, the U.S. continued carrying out airstrikes against ISIS, allowing Kurdish troops to retake some territory lost to the group last week.

This video contains images from Getty Images and The White House.