In a positive sign that the politics may be moving forward, the Sunni political bloc announced their candidate for the speaker’s post. Meanwhile, at least 323 people were killed today and 43 more were wounded. Almost 200 militants were killed during major operations in Tikrit and Jalawla.
The Sunni political bloc has nominated Salim al-Jabouri to be the next parliamentary speaker, but they and the Kurds still insist they will not continue to cooperate if the Shi’ites pick Nouri al-Maliki for premier again. It appeared that Sunnis and Kurds were not going to reveal their choices until the Shi’ites disclosed their selection, but backing off that stance is a good sign that the lawmakers are moving past bickering.
The three top posts each go to one of the three largest ethnic or religious groups in the country. The Sunnis pick the speaker. The Shi’ites pick the prime minister, and the Kurds get to select the president.
Iraq is deploying about 4,000 newly trained "volunteers" to Ramadi to reinforce troops already there. That most of them will be Shi’ites could further inflame sectarian tensions in the predominantly Sunni province. It may be more prudent to encourage Sunni militias, but many Sunnis have said they will not consider fighting unless Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki steps down. Many others admit they prefer the rebels to Maliki.
Refugees fleeing the Islamic State have taken up residence in Halabja, where Saddam used chemical weapons to killed 5,000 people in the 1980s.
In Baghdad, gunmen stormed a brothel in the Zayouna neighborhood where they killed 33 people, mostly women, and wounded 18 more. At three separate locations, at least six militants were killed. 323 43 242
Heavy fighting continues at a Diyala military base adjacent to Muqdadiya. State TV reported the deaths of 24 militants, while the morgue said 18 Shi’ite militiamen were killed. Helicopter strikes killed seven civilians, including children, in nearby villages.
Thirteen militants and four policemen were killed during an assault on Haditha.
Helicopter strikes in Falluja left three civilians dead and 18 wounded.
Militant kidnapped an official of the Independent High Electoral Commission in Baquba.
Air strikes near Tikrit killed 125 militants.
In Ramadi, six militants were killed.
A number of militants were killed in Suleiman Bek.
In Riyadh, many militants were killed.