KURDISTAN TRIBUNE 23.12.2012 – On Wednesday Iraqi federal government forces arrested ten of finance minister Rafei al-Essawi’s bodyguards on the pretext of their alleged involvement in terrorism and other illegal activities.
According to Alsumaria News this action against a leading Sunni politician has exacerbated Iraq’s sharp internal discord. There have been demonstrations across southern Iraq in protest against the government. This latest development is reminiscent of Maliki’s previous move against deputy prime minister, Tariq Hashimi, who has since been sentenced to death in absentia. The finance minister says he holds Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responsible for the safety of the people who were abducted in raids on his house, headquarters and ministry in Baghdad. He says that, in total, around 150 members of staff at the finance ministry have been detained. “I demand the release of all detainees and I demand an apology of this illegal shameful act”, al-Essawi said. “I demand from the Iraqi Parliament to activate a no-confidence vote against a government that does not respect its institutions and its sovereignty”.
However, our observers have concluded that the Maliki government currently seems unstoppable as it manoeuvres to defeat all opposition, including the Sunni parties, in various ways.As a sign of the renewed tensions, Ausam Nujafi, head of the Iraqi parliament, flew to Erbil yesterday for urgent talks with Masud Barzani, the Kurdistan Regional president. The absence of Talabani, due to ill health, combined with the aggressive stance of the Iraq government provide the ingredients for a new Iraq time bomb.