Shi’ite-Led Govt. Still Targeting Rivals, Even As Cabinet Drops Boycott

The Shi’ite-led government in Iraq has selected a new target for harassment: Iraqiya spokesman Haider al-Mulla and two other lawmakers. This comes despite recent efforts by Iraqiya to lessen political tensions that threaten to ignite a sectarian war. Meanwhile, at least two Iraqis were killed and 26 more were wounded over the last two days.

Maliki Political Target Survives Roadside Bombing

Iraq’s finance minister survived a roadside bombing that wounded two guards instead. At least four Iraqis were killed and 12 Iraqis were wounded across the country, as the prime minister called for more unity despite his actions to the contrary. A late-day bombing in Ishaqi targeted a motorcade carrying Finance Minister Rafe al-Essawi. The bomb wounded two guards working for the minister. Although the moderate politician has worked to build bridges among Iraq’s ethnic and political groups, Essawi is among the top Sunni politicians targeted by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for elimination from office. Maliki, meanwhile, called for more unity and stability despite having triggered the 2011’s greatest political crisis. His administration set off the political instability by issuing an arrest warrant against Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi and asking for the firing of Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq. Later, he threatened Essawi. All three men are not only are Maliki’s political rivals, they are also Sunnis. Maliki is Shi’ite. Because of that and the arrest of hundreds of Sunnis in an earlier Maliki-sanctioned operation, many Sunnis believe that Maliki has begun a new sectarian campaign against them. But, that campaign is not limited to government officials. Fearing a new sectarian war, Sunnis have increasingly been relocating from Shi’ite neighborhoods into those where they feel safer. The Iraqiya party, which is Sunni supported, refused to back down from its boycott of parliament until the government meets certain conditions. In particular, they feel that the unity government lacks a real partnership. President Jalal Talabani, who is a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, called for a national conference between all parties in order to solve the crisis. The question of Hashemi’s arrest warrant will not be discussed and be left to the courts entirely. Anbar’s provincial council warned Baghdad that the deadline to address their concerns is rapidly approaching. Although Maliki recently admitted that Anbar’s demands are legitimate and he would honor them, the council says they have seen no effort by the government to address any of them. Two civilians were killed and one more was wounded during crossfire between police and gunmen in Hammam Alil. In Baghdad, three civilians were wounded during a blast in the Abu Dsheer neighborhood. A blast in Jisr Diyala wounded five people, including two policemen who were targeted. A blast at a restaurant in Baquba left one person dead and another wounded. A Falluja lawyer was stabbed to death at home.

Interior Ministry Bombing Message to Maliki; 14 Killed Across Iraq

In what may be too obvious a message against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a suicide bomber attacked the Interior Ministry, leaving dozens of victims. Overall, at least 14 Iraqis were killed and 41 more were wounded in that and other assaults across the country. Three Iranian pilgrims were also wounded in an attack in Dujail. Meanwhile, the political upheaval Maliki launched continues to threaten the coalition government.

Iraqiya Bloc Walks Out on Iraqi Parliament Over Gov’t Mismanagement, Sunni Arrests and Autonomy Bids

The Iraqiya political bloc boycotted parliament today over Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s failure to properly share power and the arrests of hundreds of Sunni Iraqiya supporters in a crackdown against alleged Ba’ath Party members. Meanwhile, at least five Iraqis were killed and four more were wounded in light violence.

Wednesday: 6 Iraqis Wounded

Because of Ashuraa observances, reports of violence have been scant the last few days except for significant attacks. Only six casualties were reported today and all of them survived. However, there were a number of important news stories in the headlines today.

Friday: 1 Iraqi Killed, 23 Wounded

Updated at 8:00 p.m. EST, Nov. 12, 2010 At least one Iraqi was killed and 23 more wounded in new attacks. A number of the attacks occurred yesterday but went unreported until today or late last night. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed a new Iraqi government that is already seeing its first conflict. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, whose Iraqiya party won the largest number of seats in March elections, called the new Iraqi government a “dictatorship.”

Wednesday: 9 Iraqis Killed, 42 Wounded

Updated at 8:58 p.m. EST, Nov. 9, 2010 At least nine Iraqis were killed and 42 more were wounded in new violence. Most of the attacks in the capital targeted Christians. Meanwhile, political leaders are closer to forming a new government. The Iraqiya party has apparently accepted the speaker of parliament position but may still be balking at having Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki given a second turn at the premiership. Ayad Allawi, Iraqiya’s leader, may have also accepted to head the Political Council of Strategic Policies.