02 January 2012
Political situation deteriorated sharply following 18 Dec official withdrawal of last U.S. combat troops, though few hundred military trainers remain under private contracts. Authorities 19 Dec issued arrest warrant for VP Tariq Al-Hashimi, accusing him of involvement in acts of terrorism, specifically assassinations; Hashimi and other senior Sunni leaders fled to Kurdistan region. In response Iraqiya Alliance began boycott of parliament and govt. Maliki 21 Dec threatened to abandon power-sharing agreement, warned Kurds there would be “problems” if they protected Hashimi. Diyala’s Provincial Council 15 Dec voted in favour of forming federal region (4th province to do so); armed protesters occupied much of provincial capital Baquba. Wave of bombings 22 Dec killed at least 72, injured over 200 in Baghdad; al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq 27 Dec claimed responsibility. UN, govt 26 Dec agreed to relocate several thousand Iranian exiles from northeast Camp Ashraf; rocket struck camp 25 Dec, no casualties.