Baghdad Scandal

Iraq PM Accused of Firing Foes

Karl Rove isn't the only public servant accused of politically motivated firings: Critics of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki say he's launched a purge of senior security officials to weaken a political rival before this winter's election. According to McClatchy News Service, Iraqi news sources reported three major interior-ministry dismissals Tuesday: the ministry's commander of operations, its head of internal affairs, and the director of its explosives division. Al-Maliki's supporters say the dismissals were actually "reassignments" in response to security breaches connected to an August 19 attack on government ministries that killed 100 people. But al-Maliki's foes say the dismissals are aimed at weakening Interior Minister Jawal al-Bolani, who is expected to challenge al-Maliki. As Iraq's campaign season kicks into high gear, lawmakers are crying out: "Maliki has the authority to bring about such changes," complained one Sunni legislator. "But like this? A decision by one man? High-ranking commanders dismissed without formal investigation? It looks political."