First Published: 2012-04-05

 

Hashemi accuses Maliki of waging ‘systematic campaign’ against Sunnis

 

Fugitive Vice President says accusations against him of running death squad 'have sectarian dimension', noting that he is 'fifth Sunni figure to be targeted' by Iraq's Shiite-led government.

 

Middle East Online

More than 90% of detainees in Iraq are Sunnis

DUBAI - Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi has accused Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite government of waging a systematic campaign against Sunni Arabs in Iraq.

In an interview with the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera network aired late on Wednesday, Hashemi said the accusations against him of running a death squad "have a sectarian dimension," noting that he is the "fifth Sunni figure to be targeted" by Iraq's Shiite-led government.

"More than 90 percent of the detainees in Iraq are Sunnis," said Hashemi, who pledged to return to Iraq to carry out his vice presidential duties despite Maliki's demands for him to face trial.

Hashemi sharply criticised Maliki, saying that "corruption in the country is widespread" and warning that the prime minister's policies were threatening "the unity of Iraq."

Hashemi also alleged that Maliki's government is providing "military assistance" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, arguing that his support for Syria's leadership, which he has previously accused of funding terrorism, is motivated by sectarian considerations.

"There is information about Iraqi militias fighting alongside the Syrian regime," Hashemi told Al-Jazeera. There are also "unconfirmed reports that Iraq's airspace is being used to help (Assad's) regime," he added, hinting at Iranian involvement.

Maliki has rejected attempts by Sunni-led Gulf Arab states to arm Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, arguing that such a move will trigger an even bigger crisis in the region.

The Syrian uprising has raised regional sectarian tensions.

Syria's minority rulers are Alawites -- an offshoot of Shiite Islam -- who are trying to cling to power by brutally suppressing anti-regime protests led by the country's majority Sunnis.

In Iraq, a Shiite-dominated government has ruled over the minority Sunni Arabs since the 2003 US-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein.

Hashemi spoke to Al-Jazeera in Doha during a controversial four-day visit that sparked a wave of criticism by Iraq's Shiite leadership, which demanded that Qatar extradite the fugitive leader.

Qatar rejected Baghdad's request, saying it violated "diplomatic norms."

Hashemi travelled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, where he met Prince Saud al-Faisal, the kingdom's foreign minister.

He has said he would return to Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdistan, which he fled to in December.

 

‘Intense awareness of interests’ but no ‘perfect agreement between Egypt and US

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS

Somalia indentifies hotel bomber as former German resident

US gets formal approval to use Incirlik air base in Turkey

Saudi policeman killed, 2 injured in attack

Israel PM approves 300 settler homes in occupied West Bank

Jordan jails 8 for "plotting a terrorist act"

Israel committed war crimes on 'Black Friday'

Israeli strike on Syrian town kills 5 pro-regime fighters