Updated at 7:16 p.m. EDT, March 17, 2010
With final results from national elections expected later this week, an apparent dead heat between the two front-runners could signal months of political wrangling ahead. Meanwhile, at least three Iraqis were killed and 14 more were wounded in the latest attacks. Kurds spent the day commemorating the 1988 Halabja massacre, for which Chemical Ali was executed only this year. Also, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown admitted misinforming the Chilcot Inquiry over defense spending for Iraq.
The State of Law and Iraqiya blocs appear tied for votes. The two frontrunners will now have to delicately fight to create the new government by winning over smaller parties to their sides. In the worst possible scenario, this could take months, result in a surge of violence, and slow the U.S. drawdown. The Shi’ite religious coalition and a Kurdish one, composed of two blocs, are projected to come in third and fourth. A group representing the Awaking Councils did poorly even in Anbar province, where they originated. Final results from national elections are expected on Thursday. The State of Law coalition is led by P.M. Nouri al-Maliki, while former P.M. Ayad Allawi leads Iraqiya.
Two people were wounded in a blast at the home of a high-ranking official in Abu Ghraib. He and his wife were injured.
Rockets aimed at Baghdad were found just south of the capital in Mahmoudiya.
Two Naqshabandiya Army members were detained in Makhmour.
Seven suspects were arrested in Basra province.
Iraqi Minister of Justice Dara Nour al-Din promised the number of detainees in Iraqi prisons would drop this year.