Fears that Iraq’s fragile unity government could fall apart after the US military withdrawal from the country have triggered a prompt response from the White House.
US Vice President Joe Biden has urged the country’s Shia prime minister Nouri Maliki to tread carefully after the issuing of an arrest warrant for Iraq’s Sunni vice-president on terror charges.
Tareq al-Hashemi denies the accusations and extended his criticism towards President Barack Obama: “I was surprised by US President Obama’s statement when he said that the US had left a democratic Iraq where the judiciary is honest and transparent, and there is no corruption. What did the US president mean by his speech? Is it the real situation in Iraq?”
He later added that Iraqi unity was a sham and warned of a new sectarian war, saying: “Al-Maliki is behind the whole issue. The country is in the hands of al-Maliki.”
Hashemi who has now fled to Iraq’s semi autonomous northern Kurdistan region says all efforts to reach national reconciliation and to unite Iraq have been destroyed.
In response to the warrant, the main Sunni Arab political bloc in parliament said it was boycotting the assembly and its ministers would not attend cabinet in protest.