For the first time in George W. Bush political life, a Bush government is trying not to have someone executed, or so it seems. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accused the U.S. of stalling the executions of three prominent prisoners, one of whom might have been in cahoots with the CIA during Saddam Hussein’s reign.
To further complicate matters, the Iraqi presidential council is supposed to approve all executions, but two of its three members have raised objections.
The three, including Ali Hassan “Chemical Ali” al-Majid, were condemned to death for the campaign against the Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s.
President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd himself, opposes the death penalty in principle.
One of his two vice-presidents, Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, is particularly incensed by the death sentence on Sultan Hashim and has threatened to resign if it is carried out.
The Americans, who are physically holding the three convicted men, have refrained from handing them over to Mr Maliki’s Shia-led government for execution.
Now Mr Maliki has lashed out at them, accusing the US embassy of dragging its feet and causing a violation of the constitution.