Not only does sectarian strife continue in Iraq, but Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is looking more and more like a dictator as he consolidates power. So much for the "nation building" and "spreading democracy" rationales for invading Iraq:
Al Jazeera and 9 other stations have lost their licenses to broadcast in Iraq. The Maliki government indicates the recent spate in sectarian violence, and the media's perceived stoking of such violence, as their reason for revoking the licenses.
...Maliki's aggressive political steps date back to his initial move toward power in 2006. He's staffed the higher positions of government with Shia loyalists, and distanced his government from Sunni and Kurdish leaders.
He's also created "extra-constitutional security bodies" — so-called by Marissa Meyer at the Institute for the Study of War — bodies designed to give him a direct chain of command over security forces, a command that conveniently side-steps the Ministries of Defence and Interior.
Such consolidations allowed him to take an unprecedented move: what Maliki claims was an arrest, but what many call an assassination attempt on Iraq's former finance minister. Luckily, and predictably, Rafi Issawi was under the protection of the powerful Abu Risha clan and avoided his fate, whatever it might have been.
...Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, general manager of Al Arabiya, wrote on April 14 that Maliki was another Saddam, except for one key detail: Iran's support.
"Maliki is practically another Saddam. But Maliki surpasses Saddam because he is protected by Iran and he has double the funds of Saddam, who was besieged during most of his years in power," Al-Rashed wrote.