He is a man with a daunting challenge ahead. Iraq’s newly-endorsed prime minister-designate has a month to form a government able to avert any slide into open civil war.
Jawad al-Maliki’s appointment was applauded by the US president.
George W. Bush’s administration hopes a national unity coalition of Shi’ites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds will lead to more stability in Iraq and enable US troops to start coming home.
“This historic achievement by determined Iraqis will make America more secure,” he said.
Iraq, for now, remains far from secure. Underlining that fact, there was a deadly mortar attack today near the Defence Ministry in Baghdad.
Amid the bloodshed, the disillusionment of ordinary Iraqis has deepened during four months of political paralysis that had held up the formation of a new government.
The pressure is now on for Jawad al-Maliki to deliver.