January 19, 2012
Baghdad has arrested an al-Iraqiya bloc’s politician for funding militants while terror-linked Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi remains fugitive in the semi-autonomous north.
Riyadh al-Adhadh, the deputy chief of Baghdad provincial council, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with funding terrorist elements, a Baghdad security official said Thursday on condition of anonymity.
“An insurgent group confessed that he is funding them and giving them orders,” the source noted.
Adhadh is a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), part of the al-Iraqiya coalition to which Hashemi belongs.
The IIP confirmed the detention of the party member, but attacked the arrest as “an unprecedented escalation” and called for Adhadh to be freed.
Al-Iraqiya, which ran a neck-and-neck competition with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance in Iraq’s 2010 parliamentary elections, has largely boycotted parliament and cabinet in response to the arrest warrants issued against its members.
On Tuesday, Iraq’s cabinet criticized al-Iraqiya’s boycotting ministers, decreeing they could not run their ministries as long as they are staying away from its meetings.
Meanwhile, Vice President Hashemi, who is charged with running death squads, has been holed up the Kurdistan region while the regional Kurd officials have so far ignored Baghdad’s calls to hand him over.
Iraq’s political standoff spread to the country’s ties with Turkey after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a telephone conversation with Maliki on January 10, where he expressed “concern” over the political situation in Iraq and called for an end to “sectarian and ethnic polarization” in Iraq.
The remarks infuriated officials in Baghdad, but drew appreciation from Hashemi, who said he felt “indebted” to the Turkish premier for supporting him.
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