Iraqi Sectarian Tension Flare

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Iraq is facing renewed sectarian tension just as U.S. forces finishing leaving the country. On Monday, the Iraqi government issued an arrest warrant and travel ban on Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni. At the same time, Prime Minister al-Maliki, a Shiite, is calling for the firing of Vice Prime Minister Saleh Mutlak, a Sunni. To make matters worse, Moqtada al-Sadr says he will revive his Iranian-backed Shiite militia in 2012 if any American personnel, including civilians, remain. His forces have much Sunni blood on their hands.

The Iraqi government claims that Vice President Hashemi is involved in terrorism, an accusation he says is politically motivated and comes from Maliki. It is claimed that he has a hit squad to kill Shiite officials, including Maliki. Three of his bodyguards were arrested and 13 detained. Their testimony incriminating Hashemi was aired on television. Hashemi’s supporters believe their testimony was coerced.

“I swear to God that I never committed a sin when it comes to Iraqi blood,” Hashemi said during a press conference in Iraqi Kurdistan. He also thanked Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, for his hospitality.

Maliki is also demanding that Vice Prime Minister Saleh Mutlak, another Sunni, lose his position after he accused Maliki of acting like a dictator and being worse than Saddam Hussein. This indicates that Maliki is waging a political offensive against the Sunni leadership. This may be encouraged by Iran, as both Sunni officials consistently warn of its meddling.

It is very possible that the charges are politically-motivated, but it must be remembered that Hashemi has extremist ties. He is a leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, which is a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate. The Brotherhood has existed in Iraq since the 1940s. In November 1991, its periodical stated that there is a “U.S.-led western conspiracy which was plotting to destroy it [Iraq] in the interests of Israel and ensuring oil supplies to the western world.” One of its pamphlets explicitly said that Iraq should be an Islamic state and that “Islam would have to be re-implemented slowly and gradually” but without violence.

He and his Iraqi Islamic Party colleagues were staunch supporters of a timetable for American forces to leave and legitimized the insurgents targeting Coalition forces. “You call it ‘insurgents,’ we call it ‘resistance,’”  Hashemi said, though he condemned Al-Qaeda and said the terrorist group should not be coupled with Iraqis trying to expel Coalition forces. In the same December 2006 interview, though, Hashemi noted that only 20-25,000 of the Coalition forces were combat soldiers, and said more were needed.

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  • mrbean

    Americans have withdrawn. Iraq is dominated by Shiite Muslims and Iran is almost 100% Shiite Muslim. They hate Sunnis Muslims, and so do the Kurds. The Kurds have already aligned themselves with Iran. And you are surprised that this has started already? Wait – far worse is coming soon.

  • logdon

    Is Iraq now a barometer for the Dar el Islam?

    Leave them to it and watch how it plays out.

    If after all the treasure and allied lives expended on civilising this bunch, they still can't co-exist even with their own brethren what hope is there?

  • Steve Chavez

    Will Obama be blamed if Iraq returns to chaos, death squads, sectarian violence, and a renewed influence by Iran and Al-Sadr? When our troops left Vietnam, the peace movement claimed victory but were not blamed for the ensuing massacre of millions. They again claim victory, but not a military one, but a political one aided by their comrade Obama who was also brainwashed by the peace movement in the 80's and who had ties to the CPUSA and the Soviet KGB. He is still beholden to his KGB Putin masters as he now gave Iraq back to them like the Soviets who took over Vietnam when we left. It is also no wonder that KGB Putin and the Communist Chinese again stab us in the back by aiding Iran who then is the catalyst to future chaos in the region. If they acquire a nuke or two, they will take over the whole Middle East and no one will dare to stop them for fear of a nuke being dropped on them.

    The root of all these problems are Obama and the haters of America and Israel and yet American Jews will still support and fund his re-election.

    • Steve Chavez

      DID OBAMA MAKE A DEAL WITH IRAN to stop Al-Sadr and his aiding in sectarian violence and a possible civil war which will be blamed on Obama's quick POLITICAL departure in return for the U.S. pressuring Israel to not attack their nuke sites which will then require them to attack other military sites?

      Obama will be blamed for future chaos and the blood and sacrifice will have been for nothing therefore meaning a loss of every military person's vote.

    • Grazel

      Steve, I could not agree more. Anyone not seeing this mess coming is deaf, dumb and blind.

  • john in cheshire

    Moqtada-al-Sadr should have been eliminated in 2003. I recall that he personally, or his followers on his orders, killed an opponent in one of the muslim mosques in Iraq, on one of their holy days. And nothing was done about it. The West, as usual, allows satanic forces to perpetrate their evil designs with impunity. If he had not existed over the past 8 years, I suggest many thousands of normal people would still be alive.

  • zsqpwxxeh

    That was quick.

    Mission Accomplished, eh?

  • 58TROJAN

    And by the way, why is it that when people don't find something, the conclusion is that it doesn't exist? How absolutely presumptuous of the Bush haters to categorically say Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. What do they call the gas he used to kill Kurds?

  • BLJ

    I am getting sick of this shiite happening over there. (Try the veal please). Seriously, is this any surprise with the Iranians next door? Out goes the U.S. in comes Iran.

  • Omar Khalid,Cairo

    This is great news. The US, NATO, and the UN should place a tax on ALL non-muslim countries for 1 year. Then The US should supervise the purchase of weapons that NATO would air drop into Iraq, Afghanistan & Pakistan. Muz killing muz should be an Olympic sport televised worldwide. As we used to say in the military ESAD.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    There is no common bond holding these people together, the peace for ever
    what it was worth to the Iraqi people by the American presence is now over.
    Was this taste of less killing, mayhem and terror enough to keep barriers up
    and a continuation to stability a real Iraqi desire? Has the fatalist mentality
    evaporated, maybe not but we will see if the killings at bus stops, hundreds
    at a time, it they start again without American intervention, devolution into
    civil war, mayhem and chaos is just down their road and Iran is there to insure
    it takes place if Iran does not make Iraq it's proxy……………………..William

  • Flowerknife_us

    Time for the press to keep a bombing count. Sure to be lower than the body count.

    Fourteen so far overnite.