- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, said Tuesday said the U.S. will best be able to help Iraqis if they can unite their own government — something that will be best achieved under the newly-named prime minister.

“The key issue is the issue of the political situation in Baghdad and that is something that we have to respect — Iraqi institutions — but we also have to make clear our preference and the president has done that,” Mr. Reed said on MSNBC.

Mr. Reed said Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s new prime minister, is “a better individual to unify the government,” but Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, is so far refusing to step down from his post.

“Maliki is a stubborn individual and he has been someone who, both through his overreactions [and] through his comments, has alienated the Iraqis more than he’s brought them together,” Mr. Reed said.

Mr. Reed said many in Iraq, including in the nation’s military, are saying they will not support Mr. al-Maliki, something that will eventually make him realize he can not continue to serve as prime minister.

“It’s not going to be smooth,” Mr. Reed said. “It’s going to be a rocky transition.”