On Dec. 18 in Baghdad, a plane carrying Iraq’s vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi,
was stopped before it could take off. Instead, Hashimi and his
bodyguards were escorted off the aircraft. When the plane was finally
allowed to leave, two of Hashimi’s men were arrested on charges of
terrorism. Thus began a national crisis and the beginning of the
unraveling of Iraq’s fragile democracy.
Following a warrant for his arrest issued by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Hashimi has since taken refuge in a Kurdish enclave in the country’s north. And so the nation’s foremost Sunni leader became its top fugitive—he stands accused of running death squads and sponsoring a suicide attack in 2005. He denied these allegations over many cups of tea when interviewed by Newsweek recently in a military compound near the city of Sulaymaniyah.
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