The storyline surrounding Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, the top-ranking Sunni official in a Shi’ite dominated government, had been quiet for months, but erupted today when a politically charged case against him ended with the court ordering his execution as a terrorist.
Not that the execution is likely to happen. Hashemi, a top Iraqiya bloc member, was in Kurdistan when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered his arrest as a terrorist last December, and has since relocated to Ankara, Turkey. Despite being a member of the US-imposed coalition government, Hashemi is an outspoken critic of Maliki’s policies.
So far Hashemi, who despite spending months in exile and now being ordered killed is still the recognized Vice President of Iraq, has not responded to the court’s ruling, but has promised to issue a statement soon to make his position apparent.
Hashemi was accused by Maliki of running a secret assassination network out of the Vice President’s office, a charge which he denies. He has been in Turkey for medical treatment for the past several months, but was said to be planning to return to Iraqi Kurdistan. Even if he does the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), itself no fan of Maliki, would likely refuse to turn him over.