- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rep. Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, said Tuesday that the U.S. should work with allies to put pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down.

“Malaki has to go, that’s been evident for some time. He’s the problem, not the solution. He’s the reason why Iraq is in such disarray,” Mr. Engel said on MSNBC. “The sooner the better that he gets out. I think yesterday is too late.”

Mr. Engel said he believes international pressure can get Mr. al-Maliki to leave his post, paving the way for newly-named Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to take over.

“We can put a lot of moral pressure, there’s a lot that we can do,” Mr. Engel said. “I think if we push and we push hard and we get our allies to do it, we can get him to nudge.”

The U.S. is conducting air strikes in Iraq to protect American interests and help a group of Iraqis trapped on a mountainside by the militant Islamic State. Many say getting the new prime minister in place is the first step to stabilizing the country.

“Iraq is a disaster right now. For him to stay would only compound it and make it worse,” Mr. Engel said.