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Politicians Alarmed by Maliki’s Promise to ‘Avenge’ Journalist’s Death

By Rudaw 24/3/2014
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Photo: AP
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Photo: AP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki following the killing of a journalist by a presidential guard on Saturday in which he vowed to "avenge his blood" has overshadowed the incident and caused a stir among politicians.

“It will be my responsibility to avenge this killing, and blood can only be expiated by blood,” said Maliki as he arrived at the scene of the shooting.

Hamid Mutlaq a member of the parliamentary defense and security committee criticized this comment, saying, “Iraq can not be ruled based on blood for blood because it won't get us anywhere.”

Though some Iraqi and Kurdish officials have said that the killing was “an individual act” and shouldn’t incriminate the entire presidential guard unit, the Iraqi prime minister has personally taken up the case and promised to punish those responsible.

Others believe that the Iraqi prime minister is using the death of Muhammad Bidaiwi, a university professor and head of Radio Free Iraq as a means to get back at the Kurds amid political disputes with Erbil.

In a statement, the Change Movement (Gorran) warned of politicizing the incident and inciting nationalist and sectarian feelings, while demanding a fair trial for the Kurdish officer charged with killing Bidaiwi.

Shortly after the shooting, interior ministry forces arrived at the gates of the presidential compound to arrest the Kurdish guard, which led to a tense standoff between both sides. However, it was reported that the guard was eventually handed over to the Iraqis after talks between Iraq’s First Lady, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed and Prime Minister Maliki.

“The guard has been handed over to the court so that the law takes care of the case,” Jabbar Yawar, chief of staff of the Peshmerga Ministry told Rudaw.

On Sunday there was a call by some Iraqi politicians to expel the Kurdish presidential guards from Baghdad and handing over the task to Iraqi forces. But Brigadier General Kahdar, the commander of the presidential guards told Rudaw that they would only leave on orders from the presidential office.

Kahdar said that the guards are under the Iraqi defense ministry and not the Ministry of Peshmerga as claimed in the media.

“The Bridges 1 and 2 have been in Baghdad for 10 years and have played an effective role in enforcing the law in Baghdad,” he said.

Kahdar said that the presidential guards are hailed as the best military force in Baghdad and that they have been praised by the office of PM Maliki for providing security in the capital.

Kahdar’s version of Saturday’s incident dismissed initial claims that Bidaiwi was killed after he had refused to stop at the presidential checkpoint.

“The journalist who was killed had wanted to drive on the wrong lane of the presidential guard checkpoint, but an officer did not allow him and it later led to a quarrel between him and the officer and the officer killed the journalist,” Kahdar explained.

For his part, Qassim Mashkhati, a Kurdish member of parliament accused the Iraqi authorities of ‘hypocrisy”, saying that they should have taken the case of other journalists killed in the past as seriously.

“The killers of Kamil Shiaa, Hadi Mahdi and Muhammad Abbas who were killed in front of the cameras, should have been talked about too and caused the same uproar,” he said.

Meanwhile in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, a group of Peshmarga officers, civil society and human rights activists gathered in Shanaidar Park to condemn Maliki’s talk of “revenge and blood” and to demand a fair trial for the Kurdish presidential guard.



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Simko | 24/3/2014
All the story of the British made Iraqi state is a nightmare of blood ,more blood and chemical death of hundreds of thousands.The Kurds must unite,hold soon their long due Kurdish National Conference and take the necessary steps in face of all what is unfolding before our eyes.It is time for us to awake.
Barzanji | 24/3/2014
The dictator of Baghdad is blood-thisty.We have had enough of his likes and his filthy state.The 40 million Kurdish nation is looking to Hewler and we can not afford any further humilliations.
فلاح ميديا | 24/3/2014
A question to the Minister of Peshmerga Jabbaraleaor that cohorts first and second belonging to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense , why say they will not withdraw from Baghdad except by order of the Office of Talabani's what this duplication and contradiction , in Baghdad, there is a state law and institution security governed Systems should not allowed anyone to be a state within a state any party or any race or range on what he has that officer of the crime an individual act and not calculated on the Peshmerga this is true , but does not deliver the killer after the passage of more than six hours on the incident and is not delivered until after the conversation with Hiro and al-Maliki, this is what Aaqublh custom or law and suggests one way or another that the Peshmerga represent formations Mlishoya undesirable inside Baghdad , a demand for the public what happened was that the Peshmerga acted as if they gang does not force subject to the law , so I do not think of the right person to Izawd on Arabist or Kurdish any party these soldiers are either subject to the laws of either to leave Baghdad, which is to Aanaqd mind nor custom, then my question the other is if the incident mirrored and was in Erbil and Arab soldier and an excuse not to use the term killed Kurdish journalists that if they allowed the soldiers of the Arab presence in Arbil , what is the way you deal with the Peshmerga with the situation ... the matter must be calculated in this way
Qaraman | 24/3/2014
A few years ago the Kurdish leadership brought KRG on the brink of war with Baghdad for Hashemi who was accused of much worse crimes, we were told it was solely because he wouldn't get a fair trail in Baghdad, again a few weeks Baghdad asked for an Arab Sunni fundamentalist cleric living in Erbil who is accused of terrorism, but because he would not get a fair trail in Baghdad we were more than willing to confront Baghdad, how noble!. Does anyone believe that this officer will get a fair trial after the statements by Malaki and literally all other Arabs?, why so brave to save Arabs from Baghdad's injustice but not a Peshmarga?, he could have been tried in Erbil, they couldn't even insist on that?. Also pretending that it was only Malaki who tried to politicize this is dishonest, every Arab leader condemned this more or less like Malaki, like it was their own brother who was unprovokedly shot and killed by bloodthirsty Peshamarga, even Hashami's party. Now suddenly a few of these hypocrites in Baghdad that were demanding blood yesterday are pretending to criticize Malaki, most probably because they just realized that they themselves might soon be fleeing from Malaki's "justice", and the only safe heaven will of course be KRG. That is not going to be possible, if KRG's leadership even tries to protect any Arab fleeing from Baghdad's "justice" there will be riots on the street this time, a good start would be handing over the Sunni cleric in exchange for the Peshamarga commander.
Bakir Lashkari
Bakir Lashkari | 24/3/2014
It is a programma stunt of Al Maliki to abuse this incident for his election. However the code of Journalism Boudeauxe Convention is saying that the Journalists should also be aware of the law and regulations of the security in any land or city that they have to comply and respect the security instructions. This Guy had breached the instructions and it is his own fault and should accept the consequences. It is not up to al Maliki to decide blood for blood, but the judge can decide after heraing and a fair trial by the military and civil counts. If al Maliki kans such a mistake then the hell will burend out, like evacutaing Kirkuk to Baghdad and Basra, where those baran buglers are coming. Al Maliki is an idiote and making a big mistake, because who killed Saddam Hussen, that was Al Maliki and the the Sunnis have the right to capture al Maliki and kill him for his revenage. Al Maliki wants to start the civil war and he will pay the heavy and huge prices! Al Maliki is warned and the time is digging for his end!
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