A tsunami of political crises, scandals and labor disputes has hit Iraq since the beginning of the year, seriously undermining the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Tensions with Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are rising, leading to a major dispute over passage of the 2013 budget. Sunni Iraqis and Sadrist opponents of Mr Maliki have marched in their thousands to demand his resignation, charging him with presiding over a corrupt regime.

Support is slipping away from the once powerful prime minister and there are serious question marks as to his longevity in power. Senior clerics in Najaf have criticized him for the use of the army against demonstrators in Fallujah – on 25 January troops opened fire on protesters. Last month parliament passed a law limiting Mr Maliki to two terms – he is currently serving a second term. And on 10 February, Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported former Iraqi government spokesman, ‘Ali al-Dabbagh, who was forced out of office in December in the wake of a scandal surrounding the cancellation of a $4.2bn Russian arms deal, has been summoned to court to testify on the role of Mr Maliki’s son Ahmad, in the affair. (CONTINUED - 788 WORDS)