Iraq vice-president sentenced to death amid deadly wave of insurgent attacks
Iraq's fugitive Sunni vice-president was sentenced on Sunday to death by hanging on charges he masterminded death squads against rivals in a terror trial that has fuelled sectarian tensions in the country. Underscoring the instability, insurgents unleashed an onslaught of bombings and shootings across Iraq, killing at least 92 people in one of the deadliest days this year.
It appeared unlikely that the attacks in 13 cities were all timed to coincide with the afternoon verdict that capped a month-long case against Tariq al-Hashemi, a longtime foe of Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Still, taken together, the violence and verdict could energise Sunni insurgents bent on returning Iraq to the brink of civil war by targeting Shia and undermining the government.
Hashemi fled to Turkey in the months after the Shia-led government accused him of playing a role in 150 bombings, assassinations and other attacks from 2005 to 2011, years in which the country was mired in retaliatory sectarian violence that followed the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein's Sunni regime. Most of the attacks were allegedly carried out by Hashemi's bodyguards and other employees, and largely targeted government officials, security forces and Shia pilgrims.
The vice-president declined to immediately comment on the verdict after meeting with the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara. He said he would "tackle this issue in a statement" in coming hours.
From Iraq to Syria to Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, it seems that gangs of Sunni chauvinists are bent of repressing all others, and especially the allegedly heretical Shia Muslims, which they see as "worse" than Christians or Jews. The US picks and chooses which side (or sides!) will be supported or opposed in each case, killing them as terrorists here, sending them weapons there...
But, was it not always a mess of some sort? When Saddam ruled there, he sure didn't need real trials to 'do justice' to anyone defying him. And before him, I assume other blood-thirsty fat cats ruled the day with assassinations, torture, et al.