Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki rejected John Kerry’s call for an emergency “salvation” government with greater minority representation Wednesday, the BBC reports.
Calling it a “coup against the constitution and an attempt to end the democratic experience,” he dismissed Kerry’s demands for a new, more inclusive government and doubled down on his commitment to form a government that reflects his party’s victory in the April elections.
“The dangerous goals of forming a national salvation government are not hidden,” Maliki continued. “It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters.”
It hasn’t been a great week for the Secretary of State, whose pleas to Kurdish leaders to stay committed to a united Iraq fell on deaf ears. “Iraq is not our neighbor, ISIS is our neighbor,” said the Kurds’ head of foreign relations in a Monday interview. Kurdistan, an autonomous region in northern Iraq, is well-positioned in the current crisis to move toward full independence. (RELATED: Iraq Crisis Is The Latest Sign Of U.S. Vulnerability To Oil Price Spikes)
Despite hostility from regional leaders, Kerry reiterated the administration’s preference for a united Iraq after meeting with NATO officials Wednesday, saying “succeeding in this fight is going to require Iraqis to come together, finally, in order to form an inclusive government.”
In a Tuesday interview he refused to call the crisis a civil war, saying that the leaders he’d met with “are all determined to follow the constitutional process to try to form a government that can be a unity government and that can pull people together.”
The Iraqi government lost control of the Iraqi-Syrian border last week. As of Wednesday ISIS forces were advancing on Iraq’s second largest dam. According to a recent Vice News report, Iraqis in ISIS-controlled territories are more concerned about Iraqi army offensives than they are about ISIS rule.
“People are starting to love them for one reason; services are better than before,” said one shopkeeper. “The blocked roads are reopened, there is water and electricity, they are behaving well and people are starting to love them.”
The Obama administration’s foreign policy approval ratings are now, at 36%, the lowest they’ve ever been.