Iraq’s parliament reconvened today, but without Iraqiya bloc members who have been staging a mass boycott. At least five Iraqis were killed and 25 more were wounded in new violence.
The Iraqiya bloc continued its boycott of parliament even as other lawmakers arrived for the first assembly in two weeks. Just two days before U.S. troops formally left the country on Dec. 18, the bloc voted to stop attending because, they say, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has not kept a power-sharing agreement he signed on to last year. Instead, the premier has consolidated power and openly targeted his Sunni political rivals for arrest and harassment.
The Kurdish Coalition briefly skipped the gathering as well, in protest over one lawmaker calling President Jalal Talabani a supporter of terrorism. State of Law MP Hussein al-Asadi made the charge because Talabani, who is a Kurd, is hosting Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi at his home. The vice president remains in Kurdistan over fears that the judicial process in Baghdad has been corrupted.
In odd news, the Salah ad-Din Operations Command said a reported attack on Finance Minister Rafe al-Essawi did not occur even thought it landed several guards in the hospital. The command does come under the authority of Baghdad, so there may be a political need to discount the attack. Essawi is one of several senior Sunni politicians targeted by Maliki for dismissal. Separately, Wassit province asked Kurdistan to return four wanted men who were once security leaders.
In Baghdad, gunmen killed a lieutenant. A blast in Saidiya wounded two street sweepers and two others. Six more people were wounded in a bombing in Ur.
In Qara Durra, a bomb killed one civilian and wounded four others.
One soldier died and two others were wounded when a bomb exploded in Falluja.
West of Mosul, one policeman was killed and two more were wounded in separate attacks.
Gunmen stormed a home in Muqdadiya where they killed an Awakening Council member and wounded his wife.
Five security personnel were wounded in a bombing in Abu Ghraib.
A sticky bomb wounded a Peshmerga servicemember in Kirkuk.