Updated at 6:01 p.m. EDT, Mar. 27, 2009
Only three Iraqi deaths were reported on a particularly quiet prayer day. One more Iraqi was reported wounded. However, a number of politically important stories came out: Iraq is planning to move residents out of Camp Ashraf to encourage them to leave Iraq altogether. Meanwhile, provincial election results are now considered final. Also, an important Sunni cleric was killed in a Kurdish district of Diyala and a former Ba’athist was killed in Karbala.
Residents of Camp Ashraf could find themselves relocated to remote areas and separated from alleged military leaders if the Iraqi government has its way. Iraq would like to be rid of the Iranian refugees, but the group cannot return home and no third country is willing to take them. Many belonged to a militant group that fought against the Iranian government and fear that going home will mean torture and execution.
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) declared results from January provincial elections to be final. Some 593 complaints were received, but if they were not already resolved, they are now considered rejected. In at least one case, complaints changed the final results. Sunni groups in Anbar rejected early poll results and demonstrated evidence of fraud. In the end, they were awarded the most seats.
Gunmen in Jalawla killed a Sunni cleric and wounded his son just days after the Imam blamed al-Qaeda for a significant bombing in town. Tensions between Arabs and Kurds in Jalawla became tense last summer after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched a campaign to increase central government control in the predominantly Kurdish area of Diyala province. Any attacks there could be to simply foment Arab-Kurd violence, but there were also complaints over provincial elections that went unanswered there. Sixteen suspects were detained in connection.
Six E.F.P.s were found and defused in Kut. Explosively formed penetrators are bombs that form projectiles able to pierce armor.
A former Ba’ath Party leader and his brother were killed in Karbala.
The mayor of Khalis was released after a six-month-long detention for allegedly supporting armed groups. He was arrested just days after an assassination attempt last autumn. There was no word of whether he was found guilty of the charges or simply released.
Twelve suspects, one a journalist, were arrested in Duluiya.
Two al-Qaeda suspects were arrested near Makhmour.
A large arms cache was found near Mandili.
Three suspects were arrested after an attack on the al-Dor police. No casualties were reported.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis