With Pressure From US, Iran & Others, Iraqi Prime Minister Steps Down

(NBC News) Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki seemed determined to hold on to power, but pressure from the U.S., Iran, and even those within his own party ultimately lead to his resignation Thursday.

Maliki went on television to announce he would give up his post and his legal challenge against his successor, who stood next to him during his national address.

Most Iraqi leaders feel a new government is critical to unite the country, and President Obama agrees.

"We are urging Iraqis to come together to turn the tide against ISIL," Mr. Obama said.


(NBC News) Iraq's political leaders are in a battle of their own as the country's citizen's fear for their lives.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki refuses to step aside even though the country's new president has already named a replacement.

Meanwhile, thousands of Yazidi Christians are still on Sunjar Mountain starving and terrified.

"If we go back they will kill us. And our men- they will slaughter them because just because we are Christians," said one.

On Monday the U.S. launched four air strikes in four hours. Those targeted attacks may not be enough.


U.S. airstrikes in Iraq could continue this week.

The ISIS threat is spreading, and U.S. lawmakers now fear the terrorist group could move its target.

"Mr. President, if you don't adjust your strategy, these people are coming here," said Senator Lindsey Graham (R), South Carolina.

The administration says there are no signs of a U.S. aimed attack, but involvement is necessary to curb that risk. "Iraqis look at America as being able to help prevent a genocide, and we should do that," said Senator Ben Cardin, (D) Maryland.

Over the weekend, more humanitarian airdrops for Yazidi Christians stranded on Sunjar Mountain, receiving thousands of pounds of food and water.

The State Department says it's pulling out some American personnel in Erbil citing an abundance of caution amid intense fighting and will explore options for evacuating stranded refugees.

Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki spoke publicly for the first time Sunday since the U.S. airstrikes.

He says he will not step down. "Prime Minister Maliki has politicized the military and militarized the politics of Iraq over the last several years. That has to be reversed," said Senator Jack Reed, (D) Rhode Island.

"And we can't wait until Maliki and the Iraqi parliament to fight ISIS. Every day that goes by, ISIS builds up this caliphate, and it becomes a direct threat to the United States. They are more powerful now than al-Qaeda was on 9-11," said Rep. Peter King, (R) New York.