Via Atrios, CNN reports that Iraq’s prime minister has “created an entity within his government that U.S. and Iraqi military officials say is being used behind a smokescreen to carry out an extreme Shiite agenda that is worsening the country’s sectarian divide.”
The “Office of the Commander in Chief” has the power to overrule other government ministries, according to U.S. military and intelligence sources.
Those sources say the 24-member office is abusing its power, increasingly overriding decisions made by the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior and potentially undermining the entire U.S. effort in Iraq.
The Office, as it is known in Baghdad, was set up about four months ago with the knowledge of American forces in Iraq. Its goal is ostensibly to advise Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki — the nation’s new commander in chief — on military matters.
According to a U.S. intelligence source, the Office is “ensuring the emplacement of commanders it favors and can control, regardless of what the ministries want.”