Arrest warrant out for Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi

An arrest warrant for Iraq’s vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, was issued today by Iraq’s Judicial Committee, according to CNN. Under “Article 4” of the warrant, Al-Hashimi is cited for terrorism, and is accused of planning bomb attacks against Iraqi government and security officials.

At a news conference held by the Interior Ministry, recorded videos of al-Hashimi’s alleged bodyguards confessed to carrying out these attacks under the vice president’s orders.

    “One man said he carried out assassination attempts using roadside bombs and guns with silencers. He said the orders came from the vice president and at times through the director of his office.”

According to Reuters, Major General Adel Daham, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that the warrant was signed by five judges, and that it “should be executed.”

Sectarian tension may lead to violence and fracture political stability

USA Today reported that al-Hashimi is a parliamentary ally of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority. Currently, the group is boycotting its participation in parliament “to protest what it called Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s monopolization of all decision-making.”

The arrest warrant may reignite tensions between the Shi’ites and Sunnis sects, whose relationship is already shaky due to the recent withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Reuters reported.

    “Political tensions between Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Sunni partners in the country’s delicate power-sharing deal have sharpened… as both parties traded accusations and counter charges.”

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BAGHDAD — Iraq’s political process was unraveling faster than had been anticipated, with Sunni politicians walking out of the nation’s parliament and threatening to resign from the government even before the last U.S. troops had left the country. The crisis was triggered by reports that security forces loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, are planning to arrest the country’s Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, and charge him with terrorism.

In recent days, the homes of top Sunni politicians in the fortified Green Zone have been ringed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, and rumors are flying that arrest warrants will be issued for other Sunni leaders. A brewing confrontation in the province of Diyala underscored the risk that violence could erupt. After the mostly Sunni leadership of the province declared last week that it intends to seek regional autonomy under the terms of Iraq’s constitution, Shiite militiamen surrounded the provincial council headquarters and set fire to the Sunni governor’s home.

The governor and most members of the provincial council have fled to northern Kurdistan, and on Saturday, the main highway linking Baghdad to the northern city of Kirkuk was blocked for a third day by Shiite militiamen who, residents said, belong to Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

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"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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