A Shi’ite militia known to have staged numerous attacks against Iraqi and U.S. targets since 2004 claims it is laying down its arms and seeking political office instead. Meanwhile, at least 10 Iraqis were killed and 31 more were wounded in new attacks. Again, pilgrims were targeted, but so was a parade honoring the anniversary of the founding of Iraq’s modern army in 1921.
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.
Sunnis are cautiously wondering what the future will bring even as they celebrate the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Meanwhile, at least 20 Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded in new violence.
At least 12 Iraqis were killed and 11 more were wounded in the latest attacks. Meanwhile, a Christian lawmaker called foreign offers of asylum “meddling” in the country’s affairs and instead demanded that Iraq increase protection of the religious minority. Christians, however, aren’t the only Iraqis stressed over their situation. Sunnis, with good reason, fear they are treated unfairly in the court system. Also, a special committee to address problems with implementing the census was formed.
Updated at 11:40 p.m. EDT, May 24, 2009
At least 24 Iraqis were killed and 39 were wounded, mostly in Mosul where a suicide bomber stuck in the al-Duwasa neighborhood. Casualty numbers could rise, as American figures have not yet been reported for this incident. No other Coalition attacks were reported.