Iraq Interior Ministry Presses Kurds to Hand Over VP

Kurdistan Interior Ministry Rejects Handover, But Hashemi Can't Leave Country

Disputes between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government over the fate of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi continue today, with the Interior Ministry (still being run directly by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki) demanding that Hashemi and 14 of his employees be immediately handed over by the Kurds to face charges to terrorism.

Kurdistan’s Higher Judicial Council confirmed receiving a warrant for Hashemi’s arrest, though they noted that the regional interior ministry was in opposition to handing over Hashemi, and no decision has yet been made by the largely autonomous region about his return.

At the same time, the Higher Judicial Council appeared to confirm a full travel ban on Hashemi, meaning he is basically stuck inside of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s territory for the foreseeable future. There had been talk of him fleeing into exile.

The effort to arrest Hashemi, the top ranking Sunni Arab in the government, and to oust other high ranking Sunni officials has led to a major crisis in the Iraqi parliament, and al-Iraqiya, the largest party in the nation, has confirmed it will continue to boycott parliamentary sessions to protest attempts at arresting Hashemi.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.