Hashemi: Baghdad’s Demands Are Unconstitutional

At least 12 Iraqis were killed and two more were wounded in new attacks, as Vice President Hashemi’s trip to Qatar further enraged Baghdad.

Hussain al-Shahristani, who is Iraq’s Shi’ite deputy prime minister and belongs to the prime minister’s political party, called on Qatar to hand over Iraq’s fugitive vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi. The vice president traveled to Qatar yesterday as part of an unannounced tour. With ties between Iraq and Qatar already strained, this demand is likely to erode their relationship further.

Hashemi has been residing in Iraqi Kurdistan since December, when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused his Sunni rival of ties to terrorism. Because of their separate security forces, Hashemi is out of Maliki’s reach while in Kurdistan.

Yesterday, Shahristani complained to Kurdistan about allowing Hashemi to leave Iraqi territory. Baghdad had been calling on the Kurds to arrest him and send him back to the capital for trial, but they have refused. According to the vice president, he retains immunity according to Article 93 of the Iraqi constitution, so Baghdad’s demands for his capture and return are illegal themselves. Hashemi also promised to return to Kurdistan at the end of his travels.

The Kurdish bloc announced their desire to discuss the Hashemi situation during a national conference this week. Maliki’s State of Law party has insisted that the matter is judicial and out of the hands of politicians. Hashemi, however, as repeatedly stated that the accusations are entirely political. There are rumors circulating that this long-awaited attempt at alleviating political tensions will be postponed.

At least 12 Iraqis were killed and two more were wounded in the latest violence.

Gunmen killed two policemen at a checkpoint in Mosul. Three more policemen were killed in other attacks. A civilian was also shot dead.

The bodies of four truck drivers were discovered near Dujail.

In Badush, two policemen were killed.

An I.E.D. wounded two Sahwa members in Tuz Khormato.

In Kirkuk, no casualties were reported after militants blew up a mobile phone tower.

Asayesh forces were able to remove a bomb targeting the Hasira oil field near Chalarash village.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.