Iraqi PM Turns Focus on Second Political Rival

Having successfully harassed his vice president yesterday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today refocused his anger on one of his deputies and basically demoted him. The political attacks come just after the Iraqiya bloc began a boycott of parliament that effectively shut down the government. Meanwhile, at least nine Iraqis were killed and 21 more were wounded. One of the attacks also left one Iranian dead and two more injured.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today turned his attention to Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq. He accused the deputy of administrative irregularities and barred him from participating in the council of ministers. The charge comes only a day after Mutlaq called the premier a dictator, and Maliki blamed Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi for a recent bombing on parliament. Both Mutlaq and Hashemi are Sunnis. Maliki is Shi’ite. An Iraqiya bloc MP said the "demotion" was not carried out properly and will lead to more sectarian tensions. Last year, Mutlaq was banned from running in national elections for allegedly supporting the Ba’ath Party.

Hashemi, meanwhile, called for the release of 10 associates, including a brother-in-law, who have been arrested. Three of them who worked as bodyguards gave confessions that were televised today. They claimed that Hashemi paid them and forced them to go on missions. Earlier reports said that Maliki gave Hashemi two days to prove his innocence; however, an Interior Ministry spokesman said that an arrest warrant has already been issued. Hashemi was also banned from leaving the country, but managed to arrive in Iraqi Kurdistan last night. Rumors that he fled to Ankara were denied.

On Friday, Hashemi’s Iraqiya party voted to boycott parliament.The Iraqiya bloc also requested that investigation be held in neutral Kurdistan.

In Baghdad, a bomb killed one person and wounded two more in Amiriya. A roadside bomb in Jadriya wounded three people. Three more were wounded in an Ilam-area bombing.

Three dumped bodies were found in Falluja.

Two policemen were killed in a blast near Yathrib.

Gunmen killed a Shabak high school student and wounded his brother as they were on their way to school in Kokjali.

In Mosul, One soldier was shot dead. A grocer was shot dead. Police wounded a suspect while chasing him. Two policemen were shot and wounded last night. A civilian and a policeman were wounded in a clash with gunmen who escaped.

A bomb struck a bomb carrying Iranian pilgrims in Balad, killing one and wounding two more.

Five family members were wounded when bombs exploded at a policeman’s home in Taji.

Three rockets fell on Kirkuk airport. Two Sahwa members were wounded in a shooting last night.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has
been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.