Iraqi Minister Resigns Position over PM Meddling
Mohamed Allawi, Iraq’s communications minister, resigned on August 27 citing increased interference in the ministry from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. “I present my resignation because I have become incapable of working in such an infested environment,” Allawi wrote in his letter to al-Maliki. His departure marks the first resignation of a minister since a national unity government was formed in December 2010.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s election chief and two other election officials were found guilty of graft, receiving suspended one-year sentences from a Baghdad court. The three were arrested in April for paying a bonus of 150,000 dinars ($130) to an employee of Iraq’s state property commission in order to secure better-located government-allotted plots of land. Additionally, the Iraqi justice ministry executed 21 prisoners, including three women, who were accused of terrorism. This new round of executions came despite calls for a moratorium by the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillay. Pillay said that the, “lack of transparency in court proceedings, major concerns about due process and fairness of trials, and the very wide range of offences for which the death penalty can be imposed in Iraq,” are issues which need to be addressed. Amnesty International also called on Iraqi authorities to “refrain from using the death penalty [and to] commute the sentences of all those on death row.”
Finally, The National Interest criticized Prime Minister al-Maliki’s recent threats to hold early elections. Additionally, the journal expressed dismay at President Barack Obama‘s lack of exertion in Iraq to ensure that the country continues to move towards democracy. The piece raises concerns that al-Maliki’s tightening grip on power and the Obama Administration’s reluctance to maintain pressure leaves Iraq at a tenuous crossroads.