Jan 3, 2007

Maliki Wants Out

Maliki won't find much argument from U.S. officials if he decides to pack it in.

Nuri al-Maliki has said he wants to step down as prime minister of Iraq, as one of his advisers revealed that a man accused of recording Saddam Hussein's execution on his mobile phone has been arrested. ...

If offered a second term, he would not take it, and wishes to end his first term prematurely: "I wish I could be done with it even before the end of this term," he said, adding: "I would like to serve my people from outside the circle of senior officials, maybe through the parliament, or through working directly with the people." ...

An unnamed adviser to Mr Maliki said today that the person being held over the Saddam execution video was an official who supervised the hanging.

The execution of Saddam, which was filmed on mobile phones and showed the deposed leader being taunted by prison officials, has inflamed sectarian tensions. The manner of the hanging has come in for heavy criticism from both Iraqis and the international community.

An Iraqi prosecutor present at the execution told the Associated Press that he saw two government officials taking video of the execution.

"They used mobile phone cameras. I do not know their names, but I would remember their faces," Munqith al-Faroon said. ...

There are reports that Barzan al-Tikriti, Saddam's half-brother and former intelligence chief, and Awad al-Bander, a former chief judge, could be hanged as early as Thursday morning. The pair were due to be executed alongside Saddam, but it was postponed due to the religious holiday.

Maybe it was postponed so that the batteries on Iraqi "officials' " camera phones could be recharged.

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