Saleh al-Mutlak, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, who described the country’s prime minster as a “dictator,” said his secular, Sunni-backed political block has reached a dead end in respect to the country’s premier.
Mutlak, who has served as the country’s deputy prime minister since late December 2010 and is one of the three deputy prime ministers of Iraq, told Al Arabiya TV that since the first week of assuming his position he has not accepted the way the parliament functions and has wanted to help the country create a more “workable” government.
On the same day that U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, two events unfolded in the country, heralding a new chapter of political crisis.
On that day, Mutlak’s Al Iraqiya bloc walked out of parliament, blaming Maliki for what they described as the increasing marginalization of Al Iraqiya.
They also criticized issuance of an arrest warrant against the country’s vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, who is also a member of Iraqiya; Hashimi has been accused of involvement in November’s bombing of parliament.
The country’s president, Jalal al-Talabani, said that Maliki gave him files two years ago alleging that al-Hashimi was behind the Samara bombing, which was the cause of the peak sectarian violence in 2006.
The evidence also alleged that Hashimi was behind the killing of the son of a parliament member.
Analysts are questioning why Maliki has waited until now to make public accusations against Hashimi.
On Thursday, an Al Arabiya correspondent said that Mithal al-Alousi, a Sunni politician, reported that he had evidence linking Hashimi to the killing of his sons as well. Hashimi has also suffered from violence, as some of his siblings were murdered in the violence that has beset the country. Some observers claimed that al-Alousi avenged his sons’ killings through the murder of Hashimi’s relatives.
Mutlak denied that the Iraqi bloc is to blame for the current political crisis in the country, and said that they we were not the ones who chose the timing of the U.S. withdrawal.
“Those who created the crisis are the one who wanted their ally, the United States, to stay,” he said, alluding to Maliki’s party.
Mutlak said that he has not received any government salary for serving as a deputy prime minister; he said he “volunteered” for the position. He added that he is against sectarianism, and that he received an offer for another, more lucrative position but turned it down because it was based on sectarian quotas.
“I represent a bloc that has 91 seats in the parliament, while Maliki’s represents 89,” he said.
There has been increasing demand for federalism in the country, especially in the Sunni provinces of Anbar and Salah al-Din, because of the number of random arrests.
“Al Iraqiya voters were against federalism, but due to the latest practices, violation of
the constitution and law, and the violence used by the government against the people, it is not only Sunni provinces that are asking for federalism but other provinces as well,” he added.
Mutlak said he has always been against federalism, and is worried that the situation in the country will go beyond that.
On Tuesday, Maliki threatened to resign if the parliament did not give a vote of no-confidence against Mutlak and urged the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan to turn over Hashimi to the government.