Listen: Will Nuri al-Maliki’s departure diffuse Iraq’s crisis?
On 14 August Nuri al-Maliki agreed to step aside as Iraqi prime minister, clearing the way for Haydar al-Abadi, the deputy speaker of parliament, to form a government.
A divisive figure from Iraq’s Shi’i Muslim majority, All-Maliki had become synonymous with the political paralysis at the heart of Baghdad.
Al-Maliki’s critics accuse him of pursuing sectarian policies that had isolated and alienated Iraq’s Sunni minority and paved the way for the rise of the so-called “Islamic State”, the Sunni jihadist group formally known as the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS), which is thought to control at least a third of the country.
But will Al-Maliki’s departure pave the way for a solution to Iraq’s problems or is the country simply ungovernable?
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s flagship “Today” programme on 15 August, Professor Toby Dodge, Director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, gave a succinct and accurate analysis of Iraq’s crisis and pointed the way to a possible solution.
Here is what he said: