Updated at 5:50 p.m. EDT, Oct. 27, 2010
Tariq Aziz remained the focus of news as his death sentence, considered unfair by many, could further stall the process of government formation, the number two story in Iraq today. The two topics overshadowed a return of Tony Blair to the Chilcot inquiry and a possible delay in the national census. At least 12 Iraqis were killed in new violence. Another 33 were wounded. Also, a sniper wounded a U.S. soldier in Amara, and the Dept. of Defense announced the non-combat death of a U.S. soldier three days ago in Baghdad.
Greece, Russia and Amnesty International have now joined the Vatican in asking for clemency a day after former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz was sentenced to death. Aziz’s son described the sentence as "harsh and unexpected" considering that Aziz, a Christian, was not involved with "religious affairs." He suggested that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki should have been the one on trial because his Dawa party tried to assassinate Aziz 30 years ago and blames politics for the sentence. Aziz’s daughter, meanwhile, predicted that an appeal would be fruitless and said her father proudly served their country.
The death sentence may also delay the formation of the new government as questions over the fairness of the trial are raised. Maysoon al-Damluji, a spokeswoman for the Iraqiya party, also blamed politics and noted that the trial judge ran unsuccessfully for parliament under the Dawa banner. She also tied the sentence to the release of unflattering Wikileaks documents.
Nechirvan Barzani, deputy chairman of Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), traveled to Ankara and met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss the formation of the new Iraqi government. The Kurds will likely side with Maliki, but U.S. pressure has delayed an official announcement. Meanwhile, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with Iraqiya’s leader, Ayad Allawi, and called for a quick resolution to the seven-month-long deadlock.
Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation Ali Baban suggested that the national census be delayed yet again until after a new government is selected. Because of sectarian issues, the census could trigger violence in oil-rich areas of Iraq adjacent to the Kurdish Autonomous Region.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was recalled to the Chilcot inquiry to answer questions about new evidence that materialized since his previous appearance.
Politicians and residents of Anbar province are demanding greater control of their natural resources. How this will pit the Sunni province against the Shi’ite central government remains to be seen, but they are threatening all legal means to wrest control from Baghdad.
Salah ad-Din province governor, Khaled Hassan Mehdi, was removed from office over alleged ties to the Ba’ath Party.
In Baghdad, a bomb left at a Sunni Endowment office in Adhamiya killed two guards and wounded five others. A Sahwa official was shot dead in his office. A bomb in Doura killed a truck driver and wounded four others. A blast near a bridge in Jadriya left http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=138394.
A blast in the Himreem region killed four Iraqi soldiers, one of them a major.
In nearby Jalawla, a sticky bomb wounded two off-duty policemen.
Three people were wounded in Abu Ghraib when a bomb targeting an army patrol exploded.
Police attempted to defuse a bomb in Kirkuk. It exploded wounding three restaurant workers.
Three people were injured during a blast in Fallujah.
Twenty-three suspects were arrested in Basra province.