The big question in Iraq today: Will Nouri al-Maliki go quietly? As expected, President Fouad Massoum snubbed the two-term prime minister and said he must step down to make way for someone new. Massoum picked deputy parliament speaker Haider al-Ibadi to be the next PM and gave him 30 days to form a government, reports the AP. "Now the Iraqi people are in your hands," said Massoum. The move comes after Maliki addressed the nation at midnight and insisted that he be allowed to remain in office because his is the largest bloc in parliament, reports the New York Times. He even deployed troops in the capital as a show of force.
But those actions may have only hurt his cause further, reports the Washington Post. It quotes a Kurdish politician who says the speech triggered a "major defection" today against Maliki within his Shiite coalition. "We have passed the stage of military coups and taking power by force," says Hoshyar Zebari. The US, which has long seen Maliki as too polarizing, has already made clear that it expects Maliki to abide by Massoum's decision and warned against any use of force. (Meanwhile, Iraq is still battling militants from the Islamic State.)