Uh-oh: Maliki arresting victorious Alawi MP's?

The Washington Post is reporting that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is arresting Sunni deputies who were victorious in Iraq's recent elections:

In a sign of hardening sectarian divisions, the secular, largely Sunni-backed bloc that won the most seats in Iraq's recent parliamentary elections says its victorious candidates are being subjected to a campaign of detention and intimidation by the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki's State of Law coalition lost by two seats to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya bloc; the prime minister has been contesting the results of the March 7 vote, saying they are fraudulent. State of Law has appealed the outcome in Iraq's courts and now, Allawi's bloc says, Maliki is using state security forces in a bid to gain enough seats to emerge the winner.

This week, at least two winning Iraqiya candidates in the capital were told they are wanted, bloc officials and the candidates said. Two others are on the run in the mixed Sunni-Shiite province of Diyala, and another was detained before the elections.

Sunni Arabs see the win by Allawi, a secular Shiite, as their own. Many Iraqis and analysts worry that Sunnis will feel cheated if Allawi loses his lead before the new parliament is certified, a development that could spark retaliatory violence just as U.S. troops are drawing down to a mandated 50,000 by summer's end.

One security forces commander confirmed that orders to carry out such detentions must have approval from the highest level of government and said he worries that he is being used for political ends. The commander, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, said he was told last week to arrest a winning candidate from Allawi's list on charges of terrorism -- charges he said he knew were unfair.

Maliki is proving he's no George Washington. He evidently is reluctant to relinquish power or even entertain that thought. It should be noted that those Sunni militias who Americans convinced to lay down their arms against the government and help fight al-Qaeda have not gone anywhere and are perfectly capable of restarting the sectarian conflict that almost destroyed the country 3 years ago.

This idiocy by Maliki isn't helping the situation any.