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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Iraq: Tension rises between Prime Minister Maliki and Sunni politicians

The prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has accused his own Sunni vice-president Tareq al-Hashemi of plotting to assassinate him. He claims that al-Hashemi paid his own bodyguards to commit terrorist attacks and that they have confessed to these acts. An order has been made for al-Hashemi's arrest.

 Al-Hashemi has taken refuge in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. He says that he will only stand trial there not in Baghdad. Al-Maliki has been harassing other Sunni politicians as well. Al-Hashemi claims the charges against him are politically motivated. Massoud Barzani the president of the Kurdistan regional government has called on Iraqi politicians to hold a summit meeting to discuss al-Maliki''s recent moves against Sunni politicians.

The arrest warrant is viewed with great suspicion by many politicians including Barzani who has for years often disagreed with al-Maliki. Even the Iraqi president Talabani was critical of the warrant together with the speaker of parliament. Violence is increasing as the sectarian tensions rise as well.

The U.S. is watching events with concern as all U.S. troops are now out of the country. Some Republicans have been critical of Obama for withdrawing all U.S. troops. However, the agreement for keeping forces in Iraq expires the end of this year and the Iraqi government refused to allow any troops to stay at least without being subject to Iraqi law. Apparently, the Republicans must think that the U.S. could just stay anyway! For more see this article and also here.

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