Although attacks were light today, the controversial election ban that could spur sectarian violence on continues to dominate the headlines. Overall, at least nine Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has apparently accepted the jurisdiction of an Iraqi appeals court to rule in over 500 cases dealing with a controversial elections ban. The Justice and Accountability (De-Ba’athification) Commission instituted the ban to prevent candidates with Ba’ath Party affiliations; however, many barred candidates complained that the list was politically motivated and appealed their inclusion. Last week, the appeals court chose to allow those on the list to run, pending a later review of their ties.
Maliki denounced the postponement and called for a special parliamentary meeting in hopes of forcing the use of the blacklist. Yesterday, however, the court reversed its earlier decision and Maliki called off the meeting. Maliki and the court apparently had met behind closed doors on Saturday and came to an agreement. The court will now look at each of the cases that were appealed. They must complete their review before Friday, which marks the beginning of the campaign season.
Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi warned that the blacklist could intensify sectarian tensions. Many experts believe that the ban was meant to marginalize certain candidates, Allawi among them. Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who was recently threatened with inclusion on the blacklist, condemned the Maliki office for creating the crisis and implied the ban was a diversion from taking responsibility for buying ineffective bomb detectors. Maliki does stand to gain from the blacklist, as it will likely reduce the number of votes intended for rival parties.
In Baghdad, one civilian was killed and three others were wounded during a blast on a bridge linking Jadiriya to Doura. A sticky bomb in Doura killed a man. In Mansour, a sticky bomb wounded a man. Security forces reported confiscating 198 containers filled with arms, including rockets. A forgery gang was arrested.
Six gunmen were killed and one Iraqi soldier was wounded during clashes near Makhmour. The gunmen are suspected of ties to al-Qaeda.
A bomb in Rawa wounded one civilian.
A bomb found on a soccer field in Tal Keef was defused.
U.S. helicopters were spotted hovering over Fallujah. No reason was given for the activity, which frightened residents.