Prime Minister Maliki undoubtedly has learned from his colleague, George Bush, that nothing beats creating a plot or conspiracy in order to get rid of adversaries. Up to 25 Iraqi officials are reportedly being held on charges of planning a coup that would restore the Basthist party of Saddam Hussein to power. According to Patrick Cockburn reporting from Baghdad, those detained by a counter-terrorism unit that reports directly to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki includes a general and a host of minor officials. The plotters allegedly had formed a group known as al-Awda, or the Return, to signify restoration of Baath power. Some of the members of the coup belong to the traffic police, undoubtedly a major source of military strength.
Maliki is attempting to consolidate power, particularly after he confronted forces of al-Sadr and forced them to back down. He may fear that many people would, in light of corruption and failure to even restore basic services such as electricity, turn to some military strongman and restore the glory that was Saddam. As American forces prepare to depart, Maliki wants to get rid of any group that might challenge his power.
Who knows, perhaps, five years from now, US forces will be invading Iraq to get rid of the strongman, Maliki.