Updated at 4:47 p.m. EDT, Mar. 12, 2009
At least six Iraqis were killed and nine more were wounded during light violence. Meanwhile, journalist shoe-thrower, Muntazer al-Zaidi, received three years for attempting to assault a foreign leader. Also, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave his opinions on the state of Iraqi security, as the Kurdish president expressed unusual solidarity with the Iraqi leader.
Muntazer al-Zaidi, who became a hero to many Iraqis for throwing his shoe at then-U.S. President George Bush, was given three years in jail for his political statement. Members of his family began to wail and a sister shouted, “down with Maliki, the agent of the Americans,” when they heard the outcome. Al-Zaidi plead “not guilty,” believing his statement was a “natural reaction for the crimes committed against the Iraqi people.”
A day after his vice president questioned Iraq’s ability to maintain security after combat troops leave next year, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he had complete faith in Iraqi troops. The comments came after a pair of significant bombings this week. Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama presented a withdrawal plan that would eliminate most U.S. combat troops by the end of August 2010. A security agreement that was already in place will force the remaining troops out by the end of 2011. The prime minister also dismissed recent bombings as a “lapse to a good period of calm in Iraq.” While on a trip to Australia, the prime minister also assured Arab ambassadors that Iraq is stable.
Kurdish President Masoud Barzani said expressed solidarity with the central government, but warned that some problems still need to be addressed. In the recent past, Barzani has had some strong words for Prime Minister Maliki, but this softening might be to facilitate the return of Kirkuk to Kurdish hands.
By April 1, control of 90,000 Awakening Council (Sahwa) members will be completely in Iraqi hands. The group was financially backed by the U.S. and contributed greatly to increases in security over the last year.
In Baghdad, two people were shot dead on Sadoun Street. A bomb targeting a convoy carrying a police official through al-Nahda wounded five people, including two civilians. Another bomb targeted a civil defense brigadier-general in Yarmouk; he and two others were wounded. Also, the interior ministry captured the gunmen believed involved with the murder of a human rights advocate.
In Mosul, a roadside bomb killed a policeman and wounded a second in a Dorat Baghdad. In al-Nabi Yunus, gunmen killed a policeman. A body belonging to a man who had been shot in the head was discovered.
An important Sunni official was assassinated in Basra.
A girl was freed and her captors arrested in Amara.
Police released 47 detainees in Ninewa province. The group had been in U.S. detention until about a month ago when they were handed over to the Iraqis. The Iraqis then determined the men were not wanted for any crimes.
Twenty suspects were arrested in Missan province.
Police detained an armed groups leader in Buhriz.
In Mualameen, police defused an improvised explosive device.
Two men suspected of belonging to an armed cult were detained in Makhmour.
Authorities in Sinjar imposed a curfew while security forces look for gunmen. Sinjar is home to the Yazidi people, who have often been targeted for sectarian violence.
An arms cache found in Suwayra contained machine guns, rockets, C4 explosives and a thermal rocket.
The former editor of a Karbala newspaper turned himself in over complaints filed against an editorial he published. He was released.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis