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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Maliki's Secret Crackdown on Political Opponents By Robert Dreyfuss

The story of the sweeping, and secretive, arrests, in Iraq's national security apparatus is getting curiouser and curiouser. It now appears as if the whole thing was a clumsy effort by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to get rid of political opponents, in advance of January elections.

Iraq's provincial elections take place 11 days after Barack Obama becomes president next month, and they could present him with his first international crisis. In several key provinces -- Nineveh, Baghdad, and Diyala -- the ruling alliance may face crushing electoral defeats, and Prime Minister Maliki is apparently trying to preempt that by force. But it's looking more and more likely that the elections in Iraq will be rigged, and that could touch off violence. The secret arrests are just the tip of the iceberg.

Reported the Post:

Members of parliament charged Thursday that the prime minister was using Iraq's security forces to instill fear in his rivals ahead of provincial elections set for next month. Critics noted pointedly that a special counterterrorism task force that reports to Maliki made the arrests.


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