Political crisis in Iraq as U.S. withdraws

Al Jazeera reports: The last US troops withdrew from Iraq this morning, but the story has barely merited a mention on Iraqi television; local media are instead focused on a deepening political crisis, which includes – among other issues – an arrest warrant for the vice-president.

The latest development came on Saturday night, when Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, called for a no-confidence vote on his deputy, Salah al-Mutlaq, state media reported.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi interior ministry has reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi. Several of his security guards have been under investigation over a bombing last month in the green zone, the heavily-fortified district in central Baghdad that houses senior politicians and foreign embassies.

The bomb was assembled inside the green zone, according to Iraqi security officials, but went off prematurely. Both Maliki and Osama al-Nujaifi, the parliament speaker, have claimed to be the intended target.

The interior ministry was supposed to release details of its investigation in a press conference on Saturday night; the ministry said it would announce that Iraqi politicians, presumably referring to Hashimi, were linked to the bombing.

But officials from the ministry announced late on Saturday that they were postponing the press conference because of a request from the judiciary.

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