Fugitive ex-VP Tareq al-Hashimi dubs Iraq’s crisis as ‘Arab Spring’

Iraq’s former vice president, who has resided in Turkey since leaving Iraq, rejected how media portrayed events in Mosul late Monday

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Iraq’s former Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi described what is happening in the country as an “Arab Spring uprising” aimed at ending Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s “sectarian” regime, in an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel’s sister channel al-Hadath on Sunday.

“I am being frank when I say that I know what’s happening in my country; therefore I am careful when I say that this is a revolution who all Iraqi people contributed in,” said Hashimi, who fled Iraq in 2012 after he was given a death sentence for two murder cases.

The former vice president, who has resided in Turkey since leaving Iraq, rejected how media outlets portrayed what had happened initially in Iraq's second largest city of Mosul late Monday, when fighters from the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took the city and its province in a offensive.

“The media today is promoting that what’s happening today in Mosul and beyond is driven by al-Qaeda and ISIS, I strongly believe this is a big lie and the evidence is that the previous days in Mosul were peaceful which allowed Maliki’s army to go home safe,” he said.

The Quds Force, Iran’s special operations unit which is handling activities abroad, is in Iraq, and its commander Qassem Suleimani has met with Maliki, Hashimi said, describing the encounter as Iranian interference into Iraqi affairs.

“We will not allow any foreign interference in Iraq, and the domestic crisis is an all Iraqi crisis and Iraqis can solve this crisis.

The reasons behind and the fallout of it is known and but the interference of any side especially those who use force will have disastrous results.”

An Iraqi official told the Guardian newspaper that Iran sent 2,000 advance troops to Iraq to help fight an extreme jihadist insurgency effectively seizing control of major cities in the country.

The Islamic Republic warned on Sunday that “any foreign military intervention in Iraq” would only complicate the crisis, after the United States said it was deploying a warship in the Gulf.

“Iraq has the capacity and necessary preparations for the fight against terrorism and extremism,” foreign ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Any action that complicates the situation in Iraq is not in the interests of the country nor of the region,” Afkham said, adding: “The people and government of Iraq will be able to neutralise this conspiracy.”

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