Sunni Cabinet Members Suspended While 14 Iraqis Are Killed in Unrelenting Violence

Tuesday: 14 Iraqis Killed, 19 Wounded

by , January 17, 2012

While some politicians are trying to resolve a political crisis that could ignite a sectarian war, the Iraqi government chose instead to ratchet-up tensions by suspending several Sunni cabinet members. Meanwhile, at least 14 Iraqis were killed and 19 more were wounded in new violence.

In an attempt to end a cabinet walkout by members of the Iraqiya party, the Iraqi government has suspended several Sunni ministers from their duties. They will be allowed to return once the boycott is called off. The boycott is in protest over Sunni arrests, government mismanagement and attempts by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to thwart any bids for semi-autonomous regions.

A national conference has been scheduled to address the crisis, which has the potential for increasing sectarian violence in Iraq. The Sadrists, meanwhile, have been trying to act as moderators in they fray. They say Iraqiya members could return to parliament if the firing of Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq is resolved.

Separately, there is a movement to replace the governor of Diyala province. Taleb Mohammad has not been back to council chambers since his home was torched during violence that followed a call to make Diyala a semi-autonomous region. Most of the politicians who fled the violence were members of the Iraqiya party, but the governor belongs to the Kurdish Blocs Coalition. They have been holding separate meetings in Khanaqin. It was this bid for autonomy, which the governor was against, that set off the current political crisis. Within days, Maliki began his campaign to purge Sunni members of the government.

Gunmen attack a checkpoint in Rutba where they killed five policemen just after midnight. One gunman may also have been killed.

A bomb in Mosul left three policemen dead and three more wounded. Gunmen wounded two soldiers.

Three people were killed, two of them brothers during a kidnapping at a home in Meshahda.

A soldier was killed and three more were wounded in a Falluja bomb attack.

In Baquba, an Awakening Council member was killed and his brother wounded when a sticky bomb was detonated.

In Baghdad, a bombing left three injured in Zaafaraniya. Two more people were wounded in an explosion in Kasra. Gunmen wounded a cop.

Four people were wounded in Latifiya during a bomb attack.

Read more by Margaret Griffis