Maliki faulted on using army in Iraqi politics

The New York Times reports:

The Iraqi Army’s Fourth Division cordoned off the provincial council building here overnight on Tuesday and showed no sign on Wednesday of leaving. It was the latest in a series of actions by the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that have infuriated his political opponents, while raising doubts about the strength of the country’s laws and democratic institutions.

In a dispute over the provincial council’s legal powers to appoint a governor, Mr. Maliki ordered in the military here — for the second time — to exert his influence. American military commanders and diplomats expressed alarm at his willingness to use force.

“You have the law on your side,” Col. Henry A. Arnold III, commander of the First Infantry Division’s Fourth Brigade, told a council member outside the besieged building on Wednesday morning. “Maliki knows it. The Americans know it. And they’re going to keep reminding him of it.”

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