Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq called for replacing his dictatorial boss during an interview today.. Separately, officials in Iraqi Kurdistan told Baghdad to consider holding Hashemi’s trial in neutral territory because they aren’t handing Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi to Maliki operatives. Meanwhile, no major attacks against Shi’ite pilgrims took place today, but least eight Iraqis were killed and nine more were wounded in new violence. Also, one Syrian militant was killed.
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, who is also a target of the prime minister’s machinations, said that Maliki should be replaced because the prime minister threatens to drag the country into chaos and eventual partition. One of the leading Sunni politicians, Mutlaq survived an attempt by the prime minister to outright fire him last month. He clarified an earlier statement calling Maliki a dictator but also said he didn’t regret it. He also remains pessimistic about the political situation.
Kurdish officials are ignoring calls to arrest V.P. Hashemi, who sought safe harbor in the semi-autonomous area. They have told Baghdad to instead consider Hashemi’s request to hold the trial in Kurdistan where he would be guaranteed a court free of Prime Minister’s Nouri al-Maliki’s influence. The vice president is accused of financing death squads, but many believe the charges are trumped-up. Should the trial be held in a neutral location, the vice president said he will turn himself in.
A gun battle took place outside the home of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk. Two gunmen were killed and five policemen were wounded. Officials suspect the actual target was an Iraqiya politician who lives nearby and has been the target of earlier attacks. In a separate incident, police killed two men who had been detained and were trying to escape.
Gunmen in Hit assassinated the mayor as he left a Sunni mosque at sunset.
Police killed two al-Qaeda suspects in Bu’weza. One of them was Syrian.
Two civilians were wounded during a clash in Mosul.
In Baquba, an I.E.D. wounded one civilian.
Police foiled suicide attacks against pilgrims in Latifiya.