Violence was light today, but several stories that are all possibly election related made the headlines. The most important ones are the creation of a new Ba’athist blacklist, attacks against Christians, and the strange story about 67 unidentified bodies that a candidate told at a press conference. Unless those 67 corpses turn up, only one Iraqi was killed today and five more were wounded.
The Accountability and Justice Commission has compiled a new list of Ba’athist targets. They are accusing 376 soldiers and police of ties to the defunct party and suggesting they be fired from their security posts. This is the same commission that produced a blacklist barring over 500 candidates from running in March elections.
The Association of Iraqi Scholars condemned crimes against Christian Iraqis and demanded the government take action to stop it. Although al-Qaeda can be blamed for murdering some Christians, the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization notes that 70 percent of attacks have not been solved. Christians Iraqis want to pressure the government into stopping these attacks. It is believed that about half of the 1.5 million Christians who lived in pre-war Iraq have left the country since the U.S. invasion. The Pope has also expressed concern about the attacks, which surged in recent days. Some Christian deaths can be tied to politics, as Mosul is where several ethnic groups are vying for control.
The Iraqi Health Ministry denied any knowledge of the recovery of 67 unidentified bodies in Baghdad yesterday. Ayad Allawi, who is a top contender for prime minister, made the unverified revelation during a press conference.
In Baghdad, a senior judge was killed during a blast in Doura. Gunmen in Amil shot and wounded a female member of the Independent High Electoral Commission. A new "crisis cell" was formed to handle emergencies.
Two soldiers were wounded in Mosul, when gunmen threw a grenade at them.
In Saidiya, which borders the Kurdish Autonomous Region. and is heavily Kurdish, gunmen shot at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (P.U.K.) party headquarters, where they wounded two security guards.
Supporters of competing political parties clashed in Suleimaniyah. No casualties were reported, but over 40 vehicles were damaged, and security forces had to close off streets. Last week, security officials imposed a curfew after three people were wounded in more election-related violence. Suleimaniyah is part of the K.A.R., which is part of Iraq also has its own government. Kurd-Arab ties are among several issues facing both new governments.
In other election news, Iraqi women are afraid to campaign thanks to pre-election violence. Also, a National Media Center poll found that about 67 percent of eligible voters are expected to actually go to the polls.
An I.E.D. was defused in southern Amara.
Iraqi soldiers defused a bomb targeting a bridge in Suwayra.
An arrest warrant was issued for the head of Khalis police, after he allegedly assaulted security guards working at a local court.
Ten suspects were captured in Amiriyat al-Falluja.
Three suspects were detained in Kirkuk.
Tal Afar is on alert for suicide attacks.
A car bomb factory was found in Ramadi.