Maliki Moves Against Foes as Crisis Deepens
Opponent says Maliki could send Iraq into 'abyss'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2011 9:00 AM CST
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki waves after addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – Just hours after the last US troops left Iraq, the country's political crisis has deepened seriously, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moving against several major rivals, reports the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday Maliki tried to get parliament to take up a non-confidence motion against Vice Premier Saleh al-Mutlaq, a major Sunni ally of Ayad Allawi, because Mutlaq called Maliki a "dictator" in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. "It's not in the country's interest for him [Maliki] to escalate because the country could plunge into the abyss at any moment," said Mutlaq in response.

Maliki also ordered Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi off of a plane bound for Kurdistan yesterday because several members of the vice president's security detail have been implicated in a series of assassinations, according to the Miami Herald. Hashemi was threatened with being charged as an accomplice, though as a vice president he would have immunity. "America brought us this government, so they should have taken it with them," said one man in Baghdad.