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Iraq minister resigns after spat with PM

Iraq's cabinet hit a bump in the road on Monday, when the communications minister announced his resignation. The minister in question had clashed repeatedly with the country's prime minister.

Iraq's communications minister, Mohammed Allawi, quit his post on Monday, blaming the Shi'ite prime minister for meddling. Allawi is the first minister to resign from his position since Iraq's government was formed in December 2010.

“I present my resignation because I have become incapable of working in such an infested environment," said Allawi in his resignation letter.

The former communications minister is an adherent of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc in the country's fractious power-sharing government. Allawi has consistently clashed with Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Allawi, in a telephone interview with AFP on Monday, detailed alleged government attempts to control the appointment and transfer of senior officials. More specifically, he accused the prime minister of ordering the transfer of several director-generals in the communications ministry against Allawi's wishes.

“Some of our DGs who are very truthful, they are working very hard, he [Maliki] asked me to transfer them back to their previous ministries," Allawi said.

"I asked to keep them but he refused," Allawi added.

There exists deep political cleavages in Iraq between Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish blocs, and the situation has worsened since American troops left the country in December. Tensions reached boiling point when al-Maliki's government moved to arrest the vice present and Iraqiya member Tareq al-Hashemi earlier in the year. Al-Hashemi has since fled to Turkey. The Iraqiya bloc frequently charge al-Maliki with acting like a dictator. They recently tried to rally a no-confidence motion against him, which failed.

sej/ccp (Reuters, AFP)