For those of you who might have wondered about the wisdom of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki....
On Monday, a 20 year-old Sunni woman went on Al Jazeera to say that she had been raped at the hand of three Iraqi policeman the previous day (the police force is overwhelmingly Shiite). The incredibly rare spectacle in Iraq of a woman publicly and graphically describing her rape immediately turned the case into a major scandal. (The New York Times
does a very good job
of telling the story.)
The woman said the Americans rescued her and gave her medical treatment. She was, according to the U.S. military
, admitted to Ibn Sina Hospital, which the U.S. runs. A nurse who treated her at a clinic for Sunnis (it's unclear to me if this was before or after her visit to the hospital), interviewed by the Times
, "said that she saw signs of sexual and physical assault."
The U.S. military would only say that they're investigating the case. Maliki was not so circumspect.
After initially issuing a statement promising a full investigation, Maliki suddenly issued a second statement a few hours later, declaring that the woman was a liar and a wanted criminal, and that the three officers were to be rewarded
âIt has been shown after medical examinations that the woman had not been subjected to any sexual attack whatsoever, and that there are three outstanding arrest warrants against her issued by security agencies.... After the allegations have been proven to be false, the prime minister has ordered that the officers accused be rewarded.â
Now, I've never run a country riven by sectarian tensions. But I'd say that's not the best way to handle the situation.
Maliki has continued his rampage, firing
, or attempting to fire, the head of the agency that tends to Sunni mosques and shrines in Iraq because he called for an international investigation into the rape allegations. The problem with that, apparently, is that he doesn't have the authority to fire him... or at least so the Sunni official says.
This is the man who holds the U.S.'s fate in Iraq in his hands.