Iraqi former VP: Maliki fuels violence to gain Shiite vote

Hashimi accused the premier of 'killing Sunnis' for the purpose of making electoral gains

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Iraq’s former Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of aiming to attain the votes of the Shiites by “killing Sunni Muslims.”

"(He wants) to gain the Shiites' votes by shedding Sunni blood,” Hashemi told Al Arabiya News Channel on Saturday following the detention of leading Sunni MP Ahmad al-Awani.

"There's no justification for what happened today (to) Alwani as he (the MP) had already announced a clear stance regarding terrorism and violence," Hashimi said.

Alwani, a well-known supporter of Sunni anti-government protesters, was arrested on terrorism charges on Saturday after security forces raided his house in the Ramadi district in Anbar. His brother and five bodyguards were killed during the raid that ignited clashes.

Following Awani's arrest, clans in the Anbar province gave Maliki a 12-hour ultimatum to free him.

Hashimi further accused the premier of igniting violence for the purpose of making electoral gains.

"Maliki is pushing towards violence and towards the unknown. He wants to market himself in front of the Shiites," he said.

"Maliki is in trouble because it's clear that he has Shiite rivals who have better agendas for improving governance and establishing a government that represents everyone. He cannot meet the demands of the Shiites, so he's altered the path of a political competition and turned it into a sectarian competition," Hashimi added.

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