Updated at 8:35 p.m. EST, Jan. 23, 2010
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to discuss pre-election tensions. Elsewhere, al least five Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded in light violence. Some attacks occurred yesterday but were left unreported until today. Also, the Iraqi government has found that three decades of war has left the country contaminated.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Iyad al-Samarrai rejected a U.S. proposal that would allow banned candidates to run in March elections. Meanwhile, Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdulmahdi wants the issue solved constitutionally. The candidates were banned due to alleged ties to Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. U.S. Vice President has suggested allowing the group to participate.
An official Iraqi study has discovered the country now suffers from high levels of toxic pollution thanks to three decades of war and negect. Forty sites show evidence of radiation and dioxin contamination.
The Integrity Committee announced that bomb detectors being used in Iraq are defective. Although similar warnings have been issued before, this notice comes hours after British officials arrested the head of the company making the bogus devices. Iraqis have questioned whether these detectors contributed to last year’s string of bloody bombings in Baghdad.
In Diyala, local Awakening Council (Sahwa) members quit their posts in protest of recent arrests of hundreds of fellow Sahwa, including 25 leaders. They believe that al-Qaeda operatives have been making false reports on the Sahwa in order to undermine the group’s ability to protect the province. In the past, the Sahwa have had an uneasy alliance with regular security forces.
In Baghdad, an Interior Ministry adviser has died of wounds received during a blast in the Zayouna neighborhood late yesterday; two bodyguards were wounded. Two soldiers were wounded during a blast in Yarmouk. Ten bombs were found stashed on a school bus in Mansour.
A bomb in Haqlaniya wounded a civilian.
A mobile rocket launcher was discovered in Basra, just a day after a military vehicle was destroyed in a rocket attack.
U.S. forces postponed the release of 14 detainees from Kirkuk until after March elections. Although there is no evidence against the group and U.S. forces were obliged by the 2008 S.O.F.A. agreement to turn over or release all detainees, the U.S. is claiming that a need to protect polling stations is behind the delay.
Former Missan Gov. Adil Mhoder has surrendered to police. He is wanted on terrorism charges.
Two al-Qaeda suspects accused of targeting Christians in Kirkuk were captured,
A joint U.S.-Iraqi raid on a village in Hawija netted two suspects and eight mortars.