Maliki accuses opponents of exploiting WikiLeaks revelations

The WikiLeaks revelations have deepened a leadership crisis in Iraq, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accusing his political opponents of using the documents against him.

Updated: Oct 23, 2010, 22:26 PM IST

Baghdad: The WikiLeaks revelations have
deepened a leadership crisis in Iraq, with Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki accusing his political opponents today of using the
documents against him.

"There are some political interests behind the media
campaign who are trying to use the documents against national
leaders, especially the prime minister," said a statement from
Maliki`s office.

The nearly 400,000 US military documents made available
by WikiLeaks chronicle claims of abuse by Iraqi security
forces, while others appear to show American troops did
nothing to stop state-sanctioned torture.

The statement from Maliki`s office did not address the
question of the documents` veracity.

Al-Jazeera television said the leaked papers, made public
today, included US Army reports about Maliki "and allegations
of his association with death squads."

Maliki, who is fighting to form a new government and
remain in power for a second term after inconclusive elections
in March, said security forces had always acted on the orders
of the judiciary, not his office.

After coming to power in 2006, he created security units
loyal to him that Iraqis referred to as "dirty forces" for
their heavy-handed treatment of suspects and detainees.

The Maliki statement acknowledged that the premier was
the overall commander of all security forces, but that they
acted on orders from the judiciary.

"We confirm that the prime minister is the general
commander of all security forces, who carry out their duties
to arrest or punish when ordered by the judiciary, and not on
a sectarian or partisan basis as some factions are
trying to say."

Maliki`s Shiite-led State of Law bloc finished a narrow
second in the elections behind the Sunni-backed Iraqiya group
of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, with whom Maliki is
locked in a protracted battle for the premiership.

PTI