Updated at 8:22 p.m. EDT, May 29, 2010
The drawn-out selection of the next prime minister continues to vex both citizens and the men who propose to run the country, as the current prime minister continues to fight for a second term. Meanwhile, a Kurdish rebel leader threatens to bow out of the peace process with Turkey over disinterest from Ankara. Also, light violence left at least eight Iraqis dead and six more wounded.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared himself the only viable candidate for prime minister from the State of Law party, ignoring those within the coalition who question his leadership. His unwillingness to give up the post has stalled the formation of the new government. The first crack at creation the new government constitutionally should have gone to the Iraqiya party, which won the most seats in March elections, but Maliki has challenged them at every turn and now appears to be challenging any possibility of a consensus candidate within his own party.
Followers of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr oppose Maliki’s return as premier, but without the Iraqi National Alliance, to which the Sadrists belong, Maliki has little hope of a second term. The Sadrists prefer Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whom the I.N.A. selected through a referendum, even though the Sadrists do not necessarily agree with his policies. Maliki also met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani today, who is the country’s most respected Shi’ite cleric.
Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan said he would withdraw from seeking a peace dialogue with Turkey. The imprisoned head of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) will leave it to his rebel command to continue on their own. The PKK had imposed a unilateral truce on themselves after decades of guerilla warfare against Turkey; however, clashes resumed after Turkey’s supreme court banned a Kurdish political party linked to the group. Three Turkish soldiers were killed and two more were wounded in the latest clash. The PKK fought for an independent Kurdistan and uses parts of northern Iraq from which to launch attacks on Turkish targets.
Two soldiers were killed and four more were wounded during a roadside bomb blast in Taji.
A farmer and his son were shot to death in Salhiyah.
A high schooler was killed when he did not stop at a checkpoint in Balad Ruz.
In Baghdad, three al-Qaeda suspects were arrested. Three other suspects were captured while trying to set bomb in Doura. Four were arrested in Sadr City.
In Mosul, two soldiers were killed in a blast. A civilian was killed and two others were wounded in a separate bombing. A bomb was safely removed from a policeman’s car.
A bomb destroyed a policeman’s home in Ramadi and damaged several other buildings.
Karbala police implemented tighter security measures around banks and gold shops.
No casualties were reported after heavy shelling at U.S. base Anaconda in Balad.