VP: Maliki Pushing Iraq Toward Sectarian War
Tariq al-Hashemi accuses Shiite PM of eliminating rivals
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2011 2:48 PM CST
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi speaks during a press conference in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil on December 20, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Sunni VP Tariq al-Hashemi today openly accused Nouri al-Maliki of trying to eliminate his political rivals and run Iraq like a "one-man-show," a move that Hashemi says is pushing the country toward sectarian war. The comments came during an interview with the AP, which notes that the escalating tension between the two men, along with the series of bombings that killed at least 69 people yesterday, have hiked fears that Iraq could indeed be thrown into new violence following the exit of US troops.

"Definitely, he is going to concentrate on the Sunni community because they are the society, the community of Tariq al-Hashemi so they are going to suffer," the vice president said. "He's pushing the things to a catastrophe. And I'm not sure what's going to happen after that." Hashemi is currently residing in a Kurdish city northeast of Baghdad; he refuses to return to the Iraqi capital, where he says he can't get a fair trial on what he says are trumped-up terrorism charges.