Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Pursuing the Vice President | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

The above title exposes the issue between the two opponents Nuri al-Maliki and Tariq al-Hashemi. The former is Iraq’s Prime Minister, and he holds manifest powers, from the military to the judiciary. While the latter is Iraq’s Vice President; he escaped from al-Maliki and has been sentenced to death in absentia. Despite the gravity of the sentence, only a minority are convinced by the court’s evidence and witnesses against al-Hashemi, because this case in itself is in doubt. This is because the dispute between the two leaders is purely political; while the investigations conducted by the al-Maliki affiliated security apparatus was unsound and unfounded.

Al-Maliki has not seemed concerned about his public image since he secured a second term as Iraqi Prime Minister. In fact, he became increasingly aggressive and began to pursue his political opponents such as Saleh al-Mutlaq, who he dismissed from his post as Deputy Prime Minister for daring to criticize his monopolization of the decision-making process. However when Moqtada al-Sadr said the same thing and accused him of being a dictator, al-Maliki did no dare to punish, or even reprimand him!

This is what prompted some fears that al-Maliki, by escalating his personal disagreements with his leading Arab Sunni and Kurdish opponents, will tear Iraq apart, regionally and sectarian-wise. There are those who believe that al-Maliki’s confrontations with the Sunnis and the Kurds is in fact nothing more than an attempt to allow senior Shiite figures to monopolize government ministries, particularly those related to the economy and the oil sector, not to mention the Commission on Integrity, which is in charge of monitoring corruption, and the High Electoral Commission, which is responsible for preparing for the forthcoming elections. In addition to allowing al-Maliki to dominate the management of Iraq’s governorates, as well as the capital Baghdad; whilst he is already in control of Iraq’s security apparatus, intelligence agencies and military.

We do not want to link the fate of Iraq’s Sunnis with the al-Hashemi case, despite the security transgressions involved in this. However, unfortunately, al-Maliki is escalating his confrontation with the Sunni leadership, to the point that one imagines that he wants to turn this into a battle between himself and Iraq’s entire Sunni community! However a politician who rules Iraq must not degrade himself and his country in this manner, yet this is precisely what al-Maliki is doing regarding his dealings with the head of the Kurdistan Province, Vice President al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister al-Mutlaq.

Thanks to his own actions – whether accidently or on purpose – al-Maliki is tearing Iraqi society apart, and this is all over his objection to a television statement given by al-Mutlaq. While al-Maliki has aggravated an old dispute with al-Hashemi and launched a battle over Kurdistan Region oil quotas.

Is al-Maliki doing all of this in preparing for the forthcoming elections? Is he seeking to monopolize these elections by presenting himself as the only person who can rescue Iraq’s Shiites from the Sunnis and Kurds? Is al-Maliki now attempting to expel his rival in order to consolidate his powers? Is al-Maliki now seeking to ensure an easy electoral victory following his previous electoral failure against Iyad Allawi, forcing him to seek the assistance of Tehran in order to pressure Iraq’s Shiite political forces to back him with the votes which ultimately secured him a second term?

Or alternatively, is al-Maliki a man who is ruled by emotion and failing to use his intellect, unaware of the gravity of his actions and the harm this will inflict on his country, regime and people? It could also be possible that al-Maliki is nothing more than a tool in the hands of his extremely zealous staff that is involving the Iraqi Prime Minister in their own battles and convincing him of this, citing “conspiracies” against him?

Whether what al-Maliki is doing, in terms of dangerous escalation, is part of his political plan to remain in power, or this is due to personal disagreements, the fact of the matter is that the death sentence issued against Vice President al-Hashemi is the height of stupidity!

As for the Iraqis, they are not concerned about al-Maliki’s personal wars because they are living in a state of total misery, despite the fact that Iraq’s oil revenues have reached unprecedented levels not seen since the era of Nebuchadnezzar. Despite the exit of the Americans and the defeat of the terrorist Al Qaeda organization, Iraq remains without basic services, security or reform, while al-Maliki is preoccupied with pursing his political opponents.