Middle East

Iraq ex-PM Nouri Maliki blamed for Mosul fall to IS

Nouri Maliki - June 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Nouri Maliki stands to lose his post of vice-president as part of reforms steered by the Iraqi prime minister

An Iraqi parliamentary panel has called for former PM Nouri Maliki to face trial over the fall of the northern city of Mosul to Islamic State.

More than 30 other officials including former Mosul governor Athil al-Nujaifi were also blamed in the report.

The militants seized Mosul in a sweep across north and west Iraq last year.

Mr Maliki, a Shia, is seen as having fanned sectarian tensions, leading to a growth of discontent in those mainly Sunni Arab areas captured by IS.

Hours earlier, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi cleared the way for a court martial of military commanders who abandoned their posts as another city, Ramadi, fell to IS in May this year.

The moves come as the current government continues a major campaign to combat corruption and mismanagement.

On Sunday Mr Abadi announced he was cutting eleven ministerial posts, reducing the size of the cabinet by a third.

Iraqis have staged regular protests in recent weeks against corruption and incompetence triggered by power shortages during a heatwave.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hundreds in Baghdad have been calling for reform
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Abadi launched his reform plan a week ago

The report on Mosul was approved by 16 of the parliamentary committee's 24 members, and will be submitted to a vote by the whole chamber on Monday, MPs said.

"No-one is above the law and accountability to the people," said parliament speaker Salim al-Jaburi in a statement.

"The judiciary will punish perpetrators and delinquents."

Other officials mentioned in the report include:

  • Former Acting Defence Minister Sadun al-Dulaimi
  • Former army chief Gen Babakir Zebari
  • Former Nineveh province commander Lt-Gen Mahdi al-Gharrawi
  • Nineveh police commander Maj-Gen Khalid Hamdani
  • Former Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi

Analysis: Sebastian Usher, BBC Arab affairs editor

The fall of Mosul shook not just Iraq but the whole world, immediately transforming IS into the biggest threat in the Middle East.

When Ramadi fell four months ago, the effect was not quite so earth-shaking but it all but killed off hopes of a much touted Iraqi counter-offensive to win back Mosul this year.

In both devastating defeats, the Iraqi army was seen to have collapsed, despite its vastly greater numbers.

Parliament is due to vote on the Mosul report - days after approving sweeping anti-corruption reforms proposed by Mr Maliki's successor, Haider al-Abadi.

A key aim of all this is to bolster Mr Abadi's position as the battle against IS falters - but the moves will all also bring him into direct conflict with Mr Maliki, who will lose his vice-presidential post as part of the reforms.

IS captured Mosul on 10 June last year as they swept through a broad swathe of Iraq to the north and west of Baghdad.

Resistance from Iraqi security forces collapsed almost immediately, leaving large amounts of weapons and equipment in the hands of the militants.