Maliki's trying to secure his place as 'strongman.' But I don't think he'll succeed. To earn his 'keep' (so to speak), he's gotta deliver the last piece of the puzzle.
To retain the support of the US/Bush Cabal, the Maliki puppet govt has to supply the keystone for the invasion & conquest of Iraq: the Iraq Oil Law, which delivers to Anglo/US energy corporations about 70% interests in Iraq's oil production for the next 20 year.
Saddam and his govt had signed concessions with a lot of folks who weren't allied with Standard Oil or BP (e.g.). And he threatened to trade in Euros. He had to go.
The new "Oil Law," the terms of which are those which made the likes of Wolfowitz say the war would finance itself, is the litmus test for any Iraqi 'leader' proposing to sell the country for security, has been held up in the Iraqi Parliament for many months, very likely as a result of legislative/parliamentary insurgency.
Oh, you don't know about the Iraq Oil Law? Read all about it here. The finest points are:
# Allow two-thirds of Iraq’s oil fields to be developed by private oil corporations. In contrast, the oil industry has been nationalized in every other major Middle Eastern producer for over 30 years.Along with the permanent bases and the dissolution--by hanging--of the threat against Israel posed by Saddam, the oil law is the last piece of the Bush Cabal's reason for going into Iraq in the first place. Without it, the rest turns to ashes in their mouths.
# Place governing decisions over oil in a new body known as the Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council, which may include foreign oil companies;
# Open the door for foreign oil companies to lock up decades-long deals now, when the Iraqi government is at its weakest.
So Maliki MUST deliver the Oil Law or lose the Bush cabal's patronage. I do not think he can. So even though he's opened the door for the eternal occupation of Iraq, he probably won't live to enjoy it.
I STILL think Ahmad "Judy, Judy, Judy" Chalabi may be the final guy who ends up as the approved "authoritarian leader" of Iraq.