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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Iraqi vice president predicts return to sectarian violence


Irbil, Iraq (CNN) -- Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi has lashed out at Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, predicting that Iraq could soon return to widespread sectarian violence that could require the return of U.S. forces.

"Al-Maliki is pushing my country to reach a turning point with deeply sectarian dimension," the Sunni vice president told CNN on Sunday during an interview in the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north, where he has fled so that government forces loyal to the Shiite prime minister cannot execute an arrest warrant for him on charges of running a death squad.

He expressed concern that Americans "will face the same problem as they faced in 2003," when a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq, toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein and unleashing a wave of sectarian violence.

And he said he did not understand how U.S. President Barack Obama is able to characterize Iraq as a free, stable and democratic country.

"What sort of Iraq we are talking about?" he asked. "How the Americans will feel proud? How the American administration is going to justify to the taxpayer the billion of dollars that has been spent and at the end of the day the American saying, 'Sorry, we have no leverage even to put things in order in Iraq'?" Read More