Iraq's VP barred from overseas travel, his
bodyguards arrested for terrorist activity
Iraq VP bodyguards arrested
for terrorist activity
Iraq’s Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi reportedly escaped to Kurdistan.
December 19, 2011
BAGHDAD, — Iraq's Vice President Tariq
al-Hashemi has been barred from travelling overseas,
officials said on Monday, the latest development in
a political crisis shortly after US troops completed
Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak,
both Sunnis and members of the secular Iraqiya bloc,
have come under increasing pressure, with three of
the vice president's bodyguards arrested in
connection with "terrorist activity" and Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki calling for Mutlak to be
"A five-member judicial committee has decided to
prevent Tariq al-Hashemi and a number of his guards
from travelling overseas due to issues related to
terrorism," a senior security official told AFP.
State broadcaster Al-Iraqiya TV also reported the
Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim Atta
said three of Hashemi's bodyguards were arrested for
"suspected terrorist activity" on Sunday evening,
when the vice president was briefly escorted off a
domestic flight from Baghdad to the autonomous
Kurdistan region's capital Erbil.
“Iraqi Vice-President Tarek Al Hashimi was subject,
last night, to ‘intentional harassment’ at Baghdad
International Airport delaying his flight to
Sulaimaniyah for 3 hours,” the statement revealed
adding that Hashimi was
travelling to Sulaimaniyah
upon Iraqi President’s invitation to meet with him
and his first Deputy Minister Khudayr Al Khuzai. “A
military force stationed at the airport blocked
Hashimi’s convoy on the way back and arrested two of
his personal protection officers,” The statement
described revealing that Hashimi’s personal car was
seized and driven with the escorting officer and the
driver to Iraqi Defense Intelligence Agency”.
Hashemi's office on Monday lamented "intentional
harassment" in the form of a security force
blockading his home for several weeks, as well as
other incidents. The statement confirmed that three
of his guards had been detained.
The latest events come after the Iraqiya bloc of
Hashemi and Mutlak said on Saturday it was
boycotting parliament in protest over the prime
minister's alleged monopolising of power. The
Maliki called for Mutlak to be ousted.
Lawmakers are due to consider the request on January
3, a parliament official said.
Mutlak, who had been accused of being a supporter of
Saddam's outlawed Baath party in the run-up to March
2010 elections that he was barred from standing in,
told his own Babiliyah television channel that
Maliki was "worse than Saddam Hussein."
Iraqiya, which holds 82 seats in the 325-member
parliament and controls nine ministerial posts, has
not pulled out of Iraq's national unity government.
The bloc, which garnered most of its support from
the Sunni Arab minority and emerged with the most
seats in March 2010 elections, was out-manoeuvred
for the premiership by Maliki, who, after finishing
second in the polls, struck a deal with another
group to broaden his power base and lead the
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