Fugitive Iraqi vice president Tariq al- Hashemi was recently sentenced to death after being convicted of involvement in the murder of various individuals and abusing his power during his time in office.
Hashemi, who has fled to Turkey, rejected the ruling and said the entire trial was unfair.
However, the Iraqi government has discovered much evidence and numerous documents that prove Hashemi’s role in various conspiracies against the Iraqi government and people.
The ruling is expected to have many repercussions inside and outside Iraq, most conspicuously in the disputes between Iraqi politicians, especially those from different sectarian backgrounds.
The crisis in Syria has already created a chasm between the Iraqi central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. The Hashemi case will probably widen the gap, and the KRG will most likely use the issue as a tool to criticize Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The absence of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is receiving medical treatment in Germany, has created such an opportunity for the KRG. Talabani himself is a Kurd, and his return to the country could improve relations between the central government and the KRG.
The ruling could also increase sectarianism in Iraq, which has a diverse religious and ethnic makeup. It could also seriously undermine Iraq’s stability, even though Baghdad has made massive efforts to establish security in the country, especially since the end of the U.S. occupation in 2011.
The majority of Iraqis believe Hashemi is guilty, and his role has been revealed in numerous bombings and other terrorist actions targeting the government.
The recent ruling is expected to play a historic role in Iraq’s transition to a stable and democratic society. However, Hashemi’s presence in Turkey and Ankara’s ongoing disputes with Baghdad are regarded as major obstacles preventing justice from being served.
Hassan Lasjerdi is a political analyst and an expert on Turkish politics based in Tehran.
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