Iraq and Gulf Analysis

The Hashemi Arrest Warrant

Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 12:27

The televised confession, often taped less than 48 hours after the detention of a suspect, has become something of a gold standard in Iraqi judicial procedure in the post-2003 era.

In many ways, this way of presenting the evidence of the prosecution is a sorry sight. At similar instances in the past, accusations of torture and forced confessions have been rampant. The theatrical nature of these videos and the conspicuous timing of their appearance certainly do not instil confidence about due process and the independence of the judiciary vis-à-vis the political environment.

Hopefully, any case against Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi – who yesterday evening was formally accused of having abetted terrorism through his office – will be judged on its own merits. Before rushing to conclusions, it might perhaps also be useful to recollect a criminal case involving the security detail of another past vice president, Adel Abd al-Mahdi, back in 2009. Despite the serious nature of the charges against one of his employees (a bank robbery with alleged political motivations), Abd al-Mahdi eventually emerged unscathed from the whole affair. 

Given the symbolic timing of the arrest warrant just days after the US withdrawal from Iraq, it is hard to ignore accusations that there are political dimensions to the case. The reputation of the Iraqi judiciary is already in tatters after a series of rulings of a rather blunt pro-Maliki character. On the whole, the atmosphere seems reminiscent of the arbitrariness and outright terror that characterised the pre-election de-Baathification process in early 2010 – except perhaps that the targeted politician in this case is someone with a Sunni Islamist rather than a Baathist past. Sunnis and secularists must begin wondering whether they can all be the next target in a politicised campaign.

As far as the politics of the affair is concerned, not that much has changed. The Kurds propose vague mediation attempts and “national conferences”. Symptomatically, perhaps, President Jalal Talabani – normally a Maliki ally – managed to say that “no one should interfere with the judicial process” before adding that the measures taken against Hashemi seemed to have been done “in great haste”! For their part, Iraqiyya leaders remain reluctant to give up their patronage assets entirely: They are now suspending their participation in cabinet meetings rather than withdrawing from their ministries altogether. In a trend echoing the previous experience of secularist leaders in the Iraqi football federation, Iraqiyya are now clearly signalling their perception of the Kurdish federal region as “neutral territory” and are calling for the investigation against Hashemi to take place in Arbil. (Hashemi is reportedly still in Kurdish territory.)

Two players could conceivably create some dynamism in what seems an otherwise static – if increasingly bitter – tug-of-war. Firstly, Ibrahim al-Jaafari of Maliki’s own State of Law alliance, a former premier, has tried to present himself as an intermediary in the conflict with Iraqiyya, at times portraying himself as more reconciliatory than Maliki himself. (Jaafari is however not particularly popular with the Kurds and is seen as closer to Iran than Maliki by some.) Second, Usama al-Nujayfi, the parliamentary speaker of Iraqiyya, has continued to chair parliament meetings and thus remains in contact with Shiite and Kurdish leaders perhaps to a greater extent than others in Iraqiyya are.

The reported appearance of CIA director David Patraeus at a meeting of Iraqiyya yesterday seems somewhat extraordinary. If true, it could be indicative of how Washington sees the situation in Iraq after the withdrawal. Critics will claim that after two years dominated by Joe Biden diplomacy, it is perhaps somewhat late in the day to begin sending competent special envoys to Iraq.

15 Responses to “The Hashemi Arrest Warrant”

  1. Thaqalain said

    So its the proof who is behind all dirty tactics of Iraqiyah, CIA still playing games. I think they still didn’t get lessons of never ending wars. I don’t think so we should use word of competent for any official of CIA. Let Pentagon compile brain analysis of their Military Psychiatric Doctor!
    Should I ask Obama to airlift their CIA Chief as its not his function to dictate policies to nascent shattered IRAQIYA.
    I have no sympathy with Hasemi, I hope whenever you post these stories, add 1 of past atrocities of ruthless Bathist regime, if I will be head of broken fragile Shattered Dictated State of IRAQ, I will not ask Judiciary to punish proven terrorists, I will handover him at mercy of general Public and if they love their leaders, they will get best honor, if not then worst wishes awaiting them.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Just to be clear, I have yet to see the Petraeus presence confirmed by US sources or media. As stated in the report, it is a rumour at this point in time. Also, Hashemi has nothing to do with the Baath party.

  3. JR said

    I know that the above commentaries don’t get a thing about Iraq. Since the US entered Iraq they have consistently pushed the Sunnis deeper into oppression until they couldn’t take it anymore and retaliated. By setting up the Shiva as the winners the US has enabled the once oppressed with training, arms and a means to continue the oppression. With the US out of the picture the Shi’a are now free to apply the coup de grace to the Sunni with the help of Iran and the crazed Muktada as-Sadr and his henchmen. Good going Obama, the Sunni and Kurds were the only western thinking group in Iraq, once convinced and you have now taken them to a new level of oppression courtsey of an political withdrawal. Another swift move by Barry and the beginning of the Iraq civil war!

  4. Kermanshahi said

    Thaqalain, I have no sympathy for al-Hashemi or al-Mutlaq either, and for men who have dedicated nearly 10-years of their lives to hate-mongering against Kurds, they sure ran to Kurdistan region quickly. I wonder what they’ve got to say about federalism now… I wonder when the Nujayfi brothers will be coming to Kurdistan. But you know, if they love Saddam Hussein so much, maybe they can by trialed under his laws… but I don’t think they’d want that.

    But this incident is about to unmask more than one traitor. These so called Iraqi nationalists, which accused everyone left and right of being Iranian stooges, were in fact themselves stooges for America and the Wahabi regime in Riyadh. That’s why they were protected by US until now. But Massoud Barzani, if he really represented the Kurdish people he would hand them over to Iraqi authorities right now. If he insists on protecting them than he is clearly being bribed to push foreign interests, aswell.

  5. Reidar Visser said

    JR I think we need to be a lot more nuanced especially regarding the designation of the Kurds as wholesale pro-American. Kermanshahi, above, exemplifies a different pro-Kurdish but anti-American point of view. And he is not alone: Many of the policies of the Kurds in centre-periphery questions and the definition of the structural framework of politics in post-2003 Iraq have had the net effect of strengthening Iranian and Shiite sectarian influence. Similarly, with regard to its assumed secularism and Western orientation, we need to remember that the Kurdistan region has been highlighted for poor statistics with respect to many of the indicators of a highly conservative and patriarchal society, including honour killings, forced marriage and female circumcision.

  6. Thaqalain said

    Kurdish leaders are lucky to become as neo-oil cartels, they are future would be Sultans, Malaks, Khadims, Emirs on style of US friendly falling Middle East Estates, US and Zionists has strong roots in Kurdistan , they are operating from safe havens of ERBIL and hiding under the names of Civilian Contractors.
    If Bathist’s Leader Saddam hasn’t got fair justice under direct rule of Washington on Baghdad, there is no Guarantee Hashemi will get fair treatment better then his lords.
    What I am referring is Saddam was being hanged hastily for killing of just 21 Shias and Washington was happy to close chapter of Saddam’s revelations in open door court. I guess hired Chief Justices are now living a lavish life in EU/US Capitals. Remember how NATO-CIA funded insurgents killed Qaddafi in broad day light to put curtain on his western dealings.For +40 yrs he was in good book and last year he went in to bad book!! So time will turn tide. I request Mr. Reidar to focus on main issues and expose real perpetrators, collaborators who have destroyed IRAQ’s infrastructure and still sitting inside GZ Mortar Blast proof Embassies.
    Its God’s wrath that US economy is in doldrums and soon Wall Street will be invaded by none but Americans itself, 1 day Americans will rule over WHITE HOUSE.

  7. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, Kurds have not forgotten who gave Saddam his weapons of mass destruction in the first place. The whole Kurdish genocide in Iraq was funded and supported by the US from early on and they protected Iraq from sanctions and used their media influence to keep this fact hidden, until they needed it, to use against Saddam after 1990. Also it is commonly known that the CIA kidnapped Ocalan and handed him to the military junta in Turkey, who’s genocide against Kurds has also been committed with American support. But the average Kurd is not being paid hundreds of millions of dollars from America and Saudi Arabia, so the leaders have different interests, it seems.

    JR, US put Shi’as in power? They did a coup ‘d etat? Shi’a have been a majority in Iraq since it’s creation and have lived for 80 years under oppression of Sunni dictatorships. But the Shi’as came to power through elections, they don’t need coup ‘d etats or leaders appointed by foreigners, they are overwhelming majority in Iraq and outnumber Sunni Arabs over 4 to 1. Tell me, how many Shi’a ministers are there in Saudi Arabia? In Kuwait? In Bahrain? Shi’as are virtually unrepresented in every single Sunni majority country (and even in Shi’a majority countries like Bahrain), yet wherever Shi’as have a majority like in Iraq and Lebanon they allow Sunnis into high positions and form unity governments. Sunni Arabs are only 15% compared to 65% Shi’a Arabs, yet they act like it is 50-50. No it’s not 50-50, Sunnis are a small minority and in any other Middle Eastern country they would go without any representation but in Iraq they are given almost 1/3rd of the power. Tell me which minority has been given that much power by a majority in the Middle East? Nowhere. And you talk about Sunnis being forced to respond to retaliate against Shi’a violence? This civil war started when Sunnis tried to cleanse Baghdad of “rejectionists” and it was started by al-Zarqawi, thousands of suicide bombings and attacks with hundreds of thousands of casualties and the destruction of the most holy mosque in all of Shi’a faith were needed before there was any significant Shi’a retaliation and even then they showed a lot more restraint than Saddam Hussein’s forces did when they destroyed all Iraq’s major Shi’a cities in 1991, or when they commited the marsh arab genocide or the al-anfal genocide against Kurds. Now I’m not saying what Shi’a militias did were good, but if you think they started the secterian violence, which was so clearly started by Ba’athists and Salafis, than you are simply blind to the facts.

  8. Xenophon said


    Thanks for the alternative perspective. Regardless of Maliki’s flaws, there’s a lot of group-think going on.

  9. michael said

    Re Biden: Can we really hope to have seen the last of him?

  10. ash said

    If you equate “dynamism” to Ibrahim Al Jafaari and if he is the biggest threat to Maliki then, I’m sorry, more static and more Maliki is all your going to get. If there was one thing all Iraqis agreed to in the first election it was to ensure that Jafaari be removed as Prime Minister. This was achieved only after his government passed the ridicules constitution which is the basis of the political crisis we are seeing now.

    Unfortunately, the formal-elected opposition to Maliki is Allawi; and he is no better a leader than Jafaari. The fact that Iyad Allawi happens to find himself giving interviews in, wait for it….. Amman, JORDAN during this crisis speaks volumes about the man. I think he is finished.

    Perhaps Iraqiyya can find itself a leader who will use this “federalism debate” to his/her advantage by convincing Iraqis of the pros of greater provincial rights and perhaps a rehashing of the this current flawed constitution. Allawi is not the person for such a Herculean task. If the only alternative is Allawi or Jafaari (or an alliance of the two) then perhaps its best if Maliki stays…

  11. Salah said

    15% compared to 65% Shi’a Arabs, yet they act like it is 50-50. No it’s not 50-50, Sunnis are a small minority

    Just to be clearer here how people make some thoughts not in right direction just to support their claimed statement.

    If we talking about Sunni & Shiites in Iraq you should speaker keep in mind that there are 30 million Iraqi in account, so Iraq’s Sunni from all over ethnics will be far more from 15% fouls statement made.

    Please listen carefully here to Maliki ordering his military people to do and took arbitrary arrests and unplanned arrests to Iraqis even they do have nothing any criminals acts or grantee illegal matters just keep press them doesn’t let them feel safe?

    This Dawalt Al-Qanon, well done Maliki

  12. observer said

    have you had a chance to look at the recent opinion polls? Just curious as to what you base you conculsion that “allawi is finished”.

  13. Ya Salam said

    But here’s two nice stories for those who still haven’t realized the direction Maliki hopes to take the country: – رئيس ديوان رئاسة الاقليم يؤكد أن أربيل لن تسلم الهاشمي لبغداد

    Not enough? Here’s what Maliki said today: اعلن رئيس الوزراء نوري المالكي امتلاكه ملفات بحق بعض الشخصيات السياسية تؤكد ارتكابهم جرائم قتل .
    Oh? Other politicians that have committed murder? No one saw that coming…

    Well maybe I’m not being fair.. He does follow that up with this insistent sentence: من الضرورات هو التوجه نحو الاحتكام الى الدستور و الدستور فقط .
    If he’s so concerned about the need to use the constitution and the constitution only, then why does that ad-hoc committee created for Hashemi over a day and, which, came out with a ruling even quicker?

    On the other hand, the Constitutional argument may serve him well. An article I read yesterday mentioned that there was an attempt to have a reading of a law proposal aimed at capping the number of terms of the PM… Apparently some MPs seem to forget Maliki’s promise when protests broke out that he wouldn’t run for a new term:

    And if you forget the Saadi saga back in September, please refresh your memory:
    September 14:
    September 20:
    September 21:
    September 22:

    Watch these videos if you have a few minutes – statements worth listening to. Glad the judiciary ended up messing the charge up and using an old Baathist law that concerns direct insults at the Baath party itself.

    Iraq just went through eight years of occupation that ripped open sectarian geopolitical lines (not only in Iraq, but across the region) and took hundreds of thousands of lives just so it would end up with a new dictator?

    ويل لأمة تكثر فيها المذاهب والطوائف وتخلو من الدين.
    ويل لأمة تلبس مما لا تنسج وتشرب مما لا تعصر.
    ويل لأمة تحسب المستبد بطلا , وترى الفاتح المذل رحيما.
    ويل لأمة لا ترفع صوتها الا اذا مشت في جنازة ولا تفخر الا بالخرائب ولا تثور الا وعنقها بين السيف والنطع.
    ويل لأمة سائسها ثعلب وفيلسوفها مشعوذ وفنها فن الترقيع والتقليد.
    ويل لأمة تستقبل حاكمها بالتطبيل وتودعه بالصفير لتستقبل آخربالتطبيل والتزمير.
    ويل لأمة حكماؤها خرس من وقر السنين ورجالها الاشداء لا يزالون في اقمطة السرير.
    ويل لأمة قسمت الى اجزاء وكل جزء يحسب نفسه فيها امة.
    ― جبران خليل جبران

  14. ash said


    Perhaps “Allawi is finished” is too harsh a phrase. But maybe “time is running out” … I could be mistaken, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  15. Thaqalain said

    2 more continued violations from Washington:
    1-Continue entering Iraq without any visa, it means US didn’t think Iraq is its satellite state.
    2-Continue brokering deals b/w parties –

    Source: AK News:

    Biden has spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Speaker of the Council of Representatives Osama al-Nujaifi to hold more negotiations to avoid crises in the country.

    Sadrist Jawad al-Jabbouri told AKnews Biden’s visit is unwelcome in Iraq since he represents a state that “occupied and violated the sanctity of Iraq.”

    “The visit of the U.S. Vice President was arranged by the two Iraqi and American foreign ministries and Biden didn’t resort to legal procedures to get his visa to enter Iraq.”

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