Iraq's President Fouad Masoum asked Haidar al-Abadi to try to form a new cabinet, in a bid to end the political deadlock that has hobbled the country's efforts to roll back an Islamist insurgency.
The Shiite National Alliance tapped Abadi to replace the embattled Nouri al-Maliki, al-Iraqiya television said, citing a statement from the bloc's chief, Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
After his appointment, the prime minister-designate called for cooperation to fight the Islamic State, Al Arabiya television said. The al-Qaeda breakaway has capture vast swaths of northern Iraq, including key installations such as dams, military outposts and the region's largest city, in its declared campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate.
Al-Abadi was nominated after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pulled support from Maliki and several countries prepared to deliver arms to Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State. Kerry said the U.S. was backing Masoum and told Maliki not to hinder the political process, saying he wasn't even among the three candidates Iraqis wanted as the next prime minister.
Political haggling in Iraq has hindered government efforts to curb Islamic State advances, which have drawn U.S. air strikes. President Barack Obama has said greater U.S. assistance in pushing back Islamic State forces would only come if a more inclusive government was formed that didn't marginalize Sunni and other minorities.
Weapons are being supplied to Kurds from various sources, according to a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity and declined to discuss the U.S. role.
To contact the reporters on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8bloomberg.net; Mariam Fam in Cairo at mfam1bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at bardenbloomberg.net Riad Hamade