BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Special forces loyal to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad on Sunday night after he delivered a tough speech indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term, police sources told Reuters. Pro-Maliki Shiite militias stepped up patrols in the capital, police said. An eyewitness said a tank was stationed at the entrance to Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses government buildings. "We can see unprecedented deployment of army commandos and special elite forces ... in Baghdad, especially sensitive areas," one of the police sources said. The report could not immediately by confirmed by NBC News.
In a speech on state television, Maliki accused Iraq's Kurdish President Fouad Masoum of violating the constitution by missing a deadline for him to ask the biggest political bloc to nominate a prime minister and form a government. Critics accuse Maliki of pursuing a sectarian agenda which has sidelined Sunnis and prompted some of them to support Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham militants, whose latest sweep through northern Iraq has alarmed the Baghdad government and its Western allies.