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Interpol Issues “Red Notice” For Former Iraqi VP

When Iraq issued an arrest warrant for former Vice President Tariq Hashimi last year, and Hashimi subsequently fled to Iraqi Kurdistan, most outsiders assumed Prime Minister Maliki was pursuing one of his enemies on trumped up political charges (like “running death squads”). After all, numerous other Iraqi high politicians might be guilty of the same or similar crimes. But now the accusations appear to carry a bit more weight: Interpol has joined the hunt for Hashemi.

The NYT has the story:

Tuesday’s note by Interpol, known as a “red notice,” is not an international arrest warrant and stops well short of requiring Turkey, an Interpol member, to take Mr. Hashimi into custody. But it is likely to increase pressure on Turkey to take action against Mr. Hashimi. At the very least, it could keep him in Turkey by making it more difficult for him to cross international borders.

Hashimi, who has been touring the Middle East drumming up support from Qatar, the Saudis, and Turkey against Iran-aligned Maliki, might have more trouble on that front now that Interpol is seeking to detain him.

Maliki, meanwhile, held a cabinet meeting in Kirkuk, a contentious city that borders the Sunni and Kurdish regions of Iraq. He was attempting to signal to Kurdish officials and foreign governments that Iraq is, truly, united. Kirkuk “is Iraqi, and no other identity can dominate it,” Maliki announced. Unfortunately for Maliki, most Kurdish politicians boycotted the cabinet meeting, viewing it as an unnecessary provocation.

Political troubles aside, Iraq announced some good news: Oil exports this month reached a level not seen since Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Iraq’s rapidly growing oil production is already changing global geopolitics; the new Iraq supplies are replacing production from Iran. Without the rapid growth in Iraqi production, the current wave of international sanctions against Iran might never have happened.

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