Iraqi politician seeks Ankara’s help for crisis
ANKARA / FALLUJAH
Iraqi police look at the bodies of slain policemen in the western city of Haditha on March 5. AFP photoAs part of his efforts to seek the support of regional players to help solve the political crisis in Iraq, the head of the Iraqiya coalition, Iyad Allawi, met with Turkish leaders.
As Allawi mulls a national conference, proposed but not yet carried out by Iraqi Kurds, as a way to find a solution to the crisis in Iraq, Turkey is urging such a conference to achieve political stability under the framework of the constitutional system, diplomatic sources told Hürriyet Daily News.
Allawi, a Shiite politician, has proposed some options aimed at solving the crisis, including the formation of a government of technocrats to organize early parliamentary elections, early elections or the full implementation of a power-sharing deal in the country. He has also proposed that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s National Alliance could name a new prime minister.
Allawi plans to visit Iran, seeking support from that country, which has backed al-Maliki throughout the crisis. The leaders of Iraq’s rival sects have been locked in a standoff since December 2011, when al-Maliki’s government issued an arrest warrant against Tariq al-Hashemi, the Sunni vice-president, charging that he ran death squads targeting Shiite officials. Al-Hashemi, a prominent politician from Iraq’s Sunni community, remains holed up in the Kurdistan Regional Government region in the north, out of reach of state security forces. The Iraqi interior ministry yesterday asked Kurdish authorities to arrest fugitive Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi saying he was planning to flee the country.
Turkey supported Allawi as a candidate for prime minister of Iraq in the election, which irked al-Maliki, and has led to his falling out with the Turkish government. Turkey has good relations with al-Hashemi and criticized the Iraqi prime minister for issuing his arrest warrant. Allawi met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu yesterday in their second meeting. They first met on the sidelines of the Somalia Conference in early February in London. The Shiite leader also met and talked with President Abdullah Gül.
GUNMEN KILL 27 IN WEST IRAQ
FALLUJAH - Reuters
Gunmen disguised as police raided checkpoints and homes in western Iraq yesterday, killing at least 27 members of the security forces, police said.
A police source, who had been ferrying victims to the hospital morgue, said gunmen dressed in uniforms of the security forces had driven from checkpoint to checkpoint slaughtering police in Haditha, a town 190 kilometers northwest of Baghdad. Mohammed Fathi, the governor’s spokesman, said the attackers arrived at checkpoints with fake arrest warrants, confiscated the mobile phones of the police guards and executed them. Fathi said the latest attack bore the “fingerprints of al-Qaeda.” Another police source said one of the damaged vehicles left behind had fliers signed by an al-Qaeda affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.
The 27 dead included a lieutenant colonel and a captain who were dragged out of their homes in Haditha and killed, the police source said. A curfew was imposed on the town and its exits were sealed off. Fathi said the attackers may have intended to derail a summit of Arab leaders set for later this month. Iraq is due to host a summit of the Arab League for the first time since the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.