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July 05, 2014 AT 9:17 AM
Former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi called on incumbent Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday to give up his bid for a third term in power or risk the dismemberment of Iraq. Maliki on Friday rejected a chorus of such calls since militants of a group now calling itself the Islamic State rampaged through swathes of Iraq and declared a mediaeval-style caliphate in land they control in Iraq and neighboring Syria. Allawi told Reuters in an interview in Istanbul, "I think it is time for Mr Maliki to leave the scene. If he stays on, I think there will be significant problems in the country and a lot of troubles. I believe that Iraq would go the route of dismemberment, ultimately, if this happens." Maliki's statement on Friday will complicate efforts to form a new government to unite the ethnically and religiously divided country, something parliament failed to achieve this week. It extends a political deadlock made all the more dangerous by the pressing threat to Iraq's territorial integrity.