Baghdad officially calls on Kurdistan to hand over VP; schism is seen in Iraqiya List


Political crisis in Iraq has intensified after Baghdad officially requested the semi-autonomous government of Kurdistan to hand over the vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi on Sunday.

The country’s interior minister said al-Hashimi must come back to Baghdad to face charges that include running a death squad and being the mastermind behind a November 2011 parliament blast.

In addition to Hashimi, the official called on Kurdistan to hand over the vice president’s security guards and in accordance to article 4 in the Iraqi constitution which relates to terrorism issues.

Late December, Hashemi said that he would not go to Baghdad to stand trial. He said Baghdad’s judicial system is not independent and that he can stand for trial only in Kurdistan.

In an Al Arabiya report, he said that the charges being levied against him are of a “sectarian nature” and are meant only to get rid of him

Meanwhile, Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, said he would head to Baghdad before the end of this week to hold meetings with different Iraqi factions in an attempt solve the political crisis.

But the political crisis has deepened, as a schism inside the secular, sunni-backed Iraqiya list that Hashimi belongs to has developed.

Six Iraqiya MPs were excluded for not committing to Iraqiya’s political decision to block the parliament’s session.

Iraqiya vowed to block the parliament in reaction to what they described as the prime minister’s increasing “dictatorship.”

Ahmed al-Alwan, an Iraqiya MP, said that the decision to suspend the MPs who are committed to the decision should continue even if it means that the number of Iraqiya members would shrink.

The six excluded MPs charged the Islamic Party – one of the parties that makes up Iraqiya – as being behind their exclusion, and decided to form an independent bloc inside the parliament.