London, (Asharq Al-Awsat)- Whilst an Iraqi MP stated Tuesday that “major battles” were taking place between the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and the Interior Minister Jawad al Bolani, with the former pushing Iraqi Parliament Speaker Ayad al Samarrai not to trust the latter, a source from the leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK] party, which is headed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, confirmed that the Iraqi Prime Minister, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, dismissed head of Iraqi military intelligence Major General Jamal Suleiman “in a shocking way and without clarifying the real reasons behind such action.”
The source, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity by phone from Baghdad, said that “Al Maliki designated himself head of the military intelligence agency,” pointing out that “Major General Suleiman is one of the members of PUK and he is a well-qualified officer and he was nominated to this position from our party.”
The parliamentary source told Asharq Al-Awsat that “members of parliament are talking about news of the conflict between al Maliki and al Bolani because of the Interior Minister running in the upcoming parliamentary elections as head of the Constitution Party. This will create a competition that the head of the Iraqi government will consider a threat against him.”
The parliamentarian added: “What we heard was that al Maliki sent a letter to the Parliament Speaker [al Samarrai] to raise the idea that MPs should not trust al Bolani.” He pointed out that “Al Samarrai did not raise this and did not confirm it officially. However, events on the surface confirm that al Maliki is working to get rid of his Interior Minister.”
The Iraqi parliamentarian pointed out that “during this period before the elections, the head of the Iraqi government is working to get rid of the security and military leaderships that he believes are not standing behind him in his electoral campaign to remain in his position for a second term.” He added that “al Maliki dismissed the former interior operations chief Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf in a shocking manner and without asking for the opinion of Interior Minister al Bolani, who is his [Khalaf’s] immediate boss. This would have caused a split in the government had it not been for the intervention of political leaderships. Moreover, al Maliki also pensioned off the director of the national intelligence apparatus Major General Mohammed al Shahwani and took control of this important security apparatus and by dismissing Major General Suleiman and taking on his duties, the commander-in-chief will have total control over the Iraqi security apparatus.”
In reference to the head of government in Iraq, the Iraqi parliamentarian added, “to a large degree he is acting like the former president,” indicating that al Maliki “attended a meeting of some tribes in southern Iraq who called on him not to abandon the presidency and al Maliki answered them saying: no one will be able to take it from us from here on,” in reference to the presidency.
In a letter the Iraqi parliamentarian claims al Maliki sent to al Samarrai, the head of government intends to designate the interior minister post to himself. He said, “I do not know how al Maliki will run the most difficult military intelligence apparatus without knowing anything about military affairs, he wasn’t even a soldier in the Iraqi army.”