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.

 

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Hezbollah hails PM's suspension of resignation

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks