‘No hopes for political solutions in Iraq’

‘No hopes for political solutions in Iraq’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
‘No hopes for political solutions in Iraq’

Iraqi Vice President al-Hashemi says he is not a fugitive and he will return to Iraq. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the top Sunni official in Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government has said that “hopes for early political solutions no longer exist” in Iraq. 

“My political rival [Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki] has apparently decided to commit himself to a grave legal mistake and go ahead with forcing the court to adopt a verdict in absentia, which will likely to be the death penalty,” al-Hashemi told journalists in Istanbul May 4. 

The trial of al-Hashemi, accused of running death squads, was postponed on May 3 after defense lawyers argued it should be held in a special court. Al-Hashemi fled Baghdad in December when the Shiite-led government issued a warrant for his arrest. Now in Istanbul, he has refused to stand trial in Baghdad. 

“My life is at great risk in Baghdad since al-Maliki dissolved my battalion guard. Besides, I have a great lack of confidence and mistrust about the standard of justice, regardless of the two appeals submitted to transfer the case to Kirkuk as per Article 55 of the law,” al-Hashemi said. 

He added that it was also the international community’s responsibility to render help as quickly as possible. 
“Nothing was left after al-Maliki overrode the judicial system but to call on Mr. [Iraqi President Jalal] Talabani to exercise his role as the constitution’s supervisor, and he should put an end to the ongoing violation of the constitution.”

‘I am not a fugitive’

Al-Hashemi said he had concluded his program in Turkey and booked a flight to Arbil last Tuesday, but last minute calls from colleagues in Iraq prompted him to postpone the trip for few days.

“The media calls me a fugitive. I am not. ... I am waiting for this dialogue process to be completed,” al-Hashemi said. 

He said he would not now be attending the unity meeting that will be held in the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Arbil on May 7.

If a political solution can not be reached in Iraq, then the alternatives to al-Maliki should be nominated by the Shiite National Alliance, al-Hashemi said. “We have an agreement that we should leave the name of the nominee to the Shiite National Alliance. The ball is now in the hands of the alliance.”