In an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman, he stated that although Iraq vows to comply with the resolutions of the Arab League and that of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the reality might be different. “The opponents in Syria have arrested many Iraqi officials in Syria with charges of smuggling weapons,” said Hashemi. “I have no material evidence, but I have information about that.”
The vice-president, for whom an arrest warrant was issued immediately after the American soldiers withdrew from Iraq, first went to Arbil, the capital of the Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, and recently arrived in Turkey after visiting Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Hashemi says he believes there are political considerations behind the arrest warrant issued in his name, but said he was seeking his rights in a legal way. Although he said he doesn’t think the courts of law in Baghdad deliver just decisions, “I want the crisis to be surmounted as soon as possible, and get back to Baghdad,” he said.
According to Hashemi, there are three reasons behind the arrest warrant. First is the fact that he was the politician in Baghdad who most actively opposed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s policies in the area of human rights and just distribution of resources. “So, Maliki could just tolerate opposition up to a point.” he said. The second reason according to him is that before the situation got worse in Syria, the Iraqi prime minister wanted to get rid of an influential Sunni politician who would oppose him in his Syrian policy. Hashemi implied, though not citing the name, that the third reason might be something to do with the US, saying, “A super power might have provoked Maliki against me,” he said. I continue with the research on the issue.” Hashemi also stated that he obtained material evidence in the last couple of days that a third country was involved in the process. “It serves Iran well if I’m pacified in Iraq’s political processes, but I believe another country has also intervened in the affair. “Ten days before the arrest warrant was issued in my name, Maliki visited the US. This might give a clue I suppose.” he asserted.
Noting the importance of Turkey in the region, he is of the opinion that more than any other country in the Middle East, Turkey can contribute to the cohabitation of various communities. Seeing Iran’s policies as the major hurdle, “With the Syrian crisis lingering on, the division in the region has strengthened. Turkey has a difficult, but a very important responsibility in decreasing the tension in the region,” he commented.
Masud Barzani, head of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish government, complained in his recent Washington visit that Maliki was getting more and more authoritarian, and that they are in contact with various groups in Iraq in an effort to change the course of things. Commenting on the developments about the domestic politics in Iraq, Hashemi said, as a first step, all political groups in Iraq should come together to review the present situation in the country. If no solution is obtained in this meeting, to which Maliki will also be invited, then a motion of confidence will be called for in parliament.
Barzani also said during his visit to the US that if efforts should fail, then they would consult the Kurdish people about how to proceed, with the implication that they the Kurds might choose to declare independence. But Hashemi thinks it’s not quite the case. “Barzani has expressed many times that the regional government is part of Iraq, and that they had no intention of seceding from Iraq,” he said. Although he didn’t totally exclude the possibility that the Kurdish government might have to go to a referendum, if all-else fails, to decide their fate.
Turkey embraces Tariq al-Hashemi
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who is under Turkey’s protection, talked with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in İstanbul on Sunday.
Seventeen policemen and five vehicles, one of which is armored, were assigned to his protection; he is wanted in Iraq on terror charges for allegedly running death squads against Shiite pilgrims, government officials and security forces. One armored S600 Mercedes automobile, which belongs to the Prime Ministry and two separate houses for Hashemi’s family and his four bodyguards were assigned by the Turkish government.
Hashemi asked for protection from Turkey due to the death threats he received. He was taken under special protection after he met with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Hashemi’s family was not allowed to stay at a hotel for security reasons.
Erdoğan met with Hashemi at the Wow hotel. It is reported that Hashemi requested political support from Turkey.