Updated at 8:48 p.m. EST, Jan. 11, 2010
At least three Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded in light violence. Among them is one election employee, only one of several who have suffered thanks to their connection to the March poll. Security officials are focused today on two Saddam-era mass graves hundreds of miles apart in Kirkuk and Karbala. Meanwhile, the Chilcot Inquiry continues in Great Britain.
In political news, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi discussed the possibility of secret jails with Human Rights Minister Wejdan Mikhaeel, while the Iraqi parliament approved the appointment of Roj Nouri Shawis as deputy prime minister. Shawis replaces Barham Saleh, who resigned in order to pursue a cabinet position in the Kurdish Regional Government.
The trial of two U.S. Navy SEALs accused of abusing detainees was moved to a U.S. military court in Iraq. Separately, word has been leaking out that the C.I.A. may be conducting secret meetings with Ba’athists across the Middle East as part of a reconciliation process between Sunni and Shi’ite factions in Iraq.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s communications director will appear tomorrow at the Iraq Inquiry, where his testimony is expected to be entertaining if not actually informative. Alastair Campbell is said to have manipulated information on Iraq in order to build support for British involvement in the war. He has so far denied such accusations. The Iraq Inquiry (a.k.a. Chilcot) seeks to discover if the war was illegal in any way, but has no power to mete out punishment. In other testimony, Lieutenant General Sir Richard Shirreff complained there was no security in Basra when he took over command. Separately, British Military Police are looking into allegations that British troops tortured and killed a 62-year-old woman in 2006.
A senior election official has admitted that at least one election employee was killed and another was kidnapped in recent days. The location was not given. In other cases, family members have been killed or kidnapped, but no information was given on them was given. It is unclear if their deaths or abductions have previously appeared in any media reports.
Iraqi security forces arrested hundreds of Sunni Awakening Council members last week, while the Interior Ministry handed down 77 death sentences to mostly Sunnis. The Awakening or Sahwa Councils were credited with helping reduce the amount of violence in Iraq and were under U.S.control until 2008; however, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has always perceived them to be a threat to his authority. After their transfer to Iraqi authority, many Sahwa complained that the Iraqi government was not living up to its promise to either pay the Sahwa their salaries or incorporate them into Iraqi forces or find them other employment. This is not the first time the Sahwa were subjected to mass arrests. The Interior Ministry was once blamed for many sectarian deaths in Iraq, though Minister Jawad Bolani says the organization was cleared of its death squad "infiltrators."
In Baghdad, a bomb targeting a lawmaker’s convoy traveling in Jadiriya wounded three guards and two bystanders. A bomb in Suleikh wounded four people. Six civilians were wounded during a blast last night in Bayaa.
In Mosul, gunmen killed a 51-year-old Christian man.
An unidentified body was found in Kirkuk.
No casualties were reported after the U.S. base in Mussayab suffered a mortar attack.
Officials are preparing to open a mass grave in Karbala.
A mass grave in Topzawa has now given up over 70 victims.
Two suspects were detained in Kut.
Twenty-two U.S. detainees were handed over to Iraqi police for lack of evidence. The group had been held at the Basra airport base. The U.S. at the beginning of 2009 was to have handed over all detainees to the Iraqis.