Maliki’s eight years in power

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki becomes militan

BAGHDAD – Here are the main dates of the eight years in power of Iraq’s divisive prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who finally bowed out under international pressure on Friday:

–2006–
– February 22: Revered Shiite shrine in Samarra blown up, triggering later a sectarian war that will continue to rock Iraq until 2008, killing tens of thousands.
– April 22: President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd asks Maliki, a Shiite, to form a new government to replace Ibrahim Jaafari who was contested by Sunnis and Kurds.
– May 21: A national unity cabinet is sworn in, dominated by Maliki’s United Iraqi Alliance which won most seats in parliamentary election.
– October 11: Parliament passes law allowing the 18 provinces to hold referendums to merge themselves into larger federal regions with a measure of self-government. It is opposed by Sunnis who fear their community would be left with a rump territory in the barren west and centre of the country.

–2007–
– August 14: More than 400 are killed in attacks targeting members of the minority Kurdish-speaking Yazidi community in northern Nineveh province. Al-Qaeda is blamed. The violence is the worst since dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown in the 2003 US-led invasion.

–2010–
– March 7: Inconclusive parliamentary elections unleashes political crisis between Sunnis and Shiites.
– November: Political leaders announce deal stating the president of Iraq would be a Kurd, the prime minister a Shiite and the speaker of parliament a Sunni. Talabani reappoints Maliki as government chief.

–2011–
– February 3: Protests demanding improved public services, more jobs, less corruption and broader political reforms erupt.
– December 18: US troops complete their withdrawal, ending nearly nine years of occupation..
– December 19: Arrest warrant issued for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who takes refuge in Kurdistan. His Iraqiya bloc boycotts the cabinet.

–2012–
– September: Formation of a new federal military command covering disputed territory in Kirkuk in northern Iraq sends already-poor relations between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region plummeting.
– December 23: The start of major protests, particularly in the Sunni province of Anbar, demanding Maliki’s ouster and accusing him of monopolising power and discriminating against Sunnis.

–2013–
– April 23: Start of a week of clashes in Hawijah in northern Iraq between security forces and anti-government protesters allegedly infiltrated by militants that leave more than 240 dead.
According to the NGO Iraq Body Count, 2013 was the deadliest year since 2008, with 9,475 civilians killed.

–2014–
– January 2-4: Iraq loses control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in Anbar province to Al-Qaeda-linked fighters, after security forces cleared an anti-government protest camp in December.
– April 30: Maliki wins the most seats in the first general election since US troops departed, but his State of Law alliance falls short of an overall majority.
– June 10: Arab militants, led by radicals, seize second biggest city Mosul. Government forces take flight. The fighters go on to seize broad swathes of territory in the north and the west.
– August 8: US jets strike fighters positions.
– August 11: President Fuad Masum nominates Shiite Haidar al-Abadi as new prime minister. Maliki says it will take a court ruling for him to leave power.
– August 14: Maliki concedes defeat, bowing to huge domestic and international pressure, notably from former allies the United States and Iran. Washington hails the decision as a “major step forward”. The UN speaks of a “historic milestone”.