Updated at 10:27 p.m. EST, Feb. 15, 2010
At least 10 Iraqis were killed and 10 more were wounded in light violence, some of which struck out at election candidates. Meanwhile, the controversy of an elections ban that threatens to destabilize the country continues to dominate the headlines. Also, there was new testimony at a British inquiry into the death of an Iraqi hotel worker at the hands of British troops.
While discussing election concerns, Sunni lawmaker, Saleh al-Mutlaq mentioned a backroom deal that could stop a proposed Sunni boycott of upcoming elections. He also condemned the possible boycott, reminding Sunnis that the last boycott cost them power; however, he also ominously said that the Sunnis will not "shy away from any choice" if they believe the elections are rigged. Mutlaq is among the hundreds of candidates not allowed to run in the election, not even for the seat he currently holds. He blames a misunderstanding of recent, sarcastic commentary for allegations that he supports the Ba’ath Party. He quit the party in 1977.
Although the blacklist is seen by Sunnis as an attempt to undermine their candidates under the cover of eliminating Ba’ath Party supporters, many Shi’ites also are suspicious of the motives behind the ban. A string of bombings in the capital hurt Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s chances of holding on to his office. He has blamed the defunct Ba’ath Party for the bombings.
Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, meanwhile, complained to Iran’s ambassador about a speech in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seemed too interested in Iraqi politics. Both Hashemi and Mutlaq are worried that Iran is exerting too much influence on the Iraqi government and supporting some armed groups.
Former British Commander, Colonel Jorge Mendonca, denied any knowledge of British abuse of prisoners under his watch, but did admit they had not received appropriate training in handling prisoners. Other witness however called him "trigger happy" and "gung-ho" in his dealing with prisoner. The testimony came at an inquiry investing the death of one of the prisoners, Baha Mousa.
Gunmen blew up homes in Kabiesa, where they killed a woman and injured five others, including a child. Seven suspects were arrested in connection with the blasts. The homes belonged to policemen and a Sunni cleric, who is an election candidate.
In Mosul, gunmen stormed a home, killing a woman but leaving her son unharmed. Two men were killed in a small arms attack in the Risala neighborhood. Gunmen stormed a home, also in Risala, and killed two people. An operation in the Quds neighborhood left one dead gunmen and a second wounded. Also in Quds, gunmen stormed a home where they killed a policeman and injured his wife. A 60-year-old Christian man was shot and killed, the second such attack in 24-hours. Gunmen killed an Iraqi soldier at a checkpoint.
In Baghdad, one security guard was wounded during a blast near a political party’s HQ in Qahira. A sticky bomb wounded two people near Sahet al-Aordon. No casualties were reported after mortars struck a U.S. base in Shabb.
Thirteen mortars were seized in Nasariya.
Missan province will implement a security plan for next month’s election.
The Tal Afar police department is on a recruiting campaign targeting young men who have had police relatives die on duty.
In Dhi Qar province, the council has banned a satellite TV station, allegedly for supporting the Ba’ath Party; however, the station recently broadcast interview in which local residents criticized local politicians. Separately, twenty-suspects were arrested.
A suspect was arrested in Kirkuk. A cannonball was discovered.
Iraq is forcing tailors and uniform dealers to sign a pledge that they will not sell military or police uniforms to gunmen.
Monitor for Constitutional Freedom and Bill of Rights (MRFC) reported that 111 Iraqis were killed so far in 2010. About 78 of them were civilians.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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