Updated at 7:40 p.m. EST, Jan. 20, 2012
A security force arrested yet another Sunni politician today, as at least five Iraqis were killed and nine more were wounded in new violence. The top Shi’ite cleric, meanwhile, urged politicians to resolve their differences for the benefit of the country.
Despite lacking a proper warrant, a security force arrested Diyala’s governor deputy of technical affairs, Ghadhban Khazraji. Khazraji is part of the Sunni Accord and Reform Front, which is allied to the Iraqiya party. He is charged with terrorism, and several guards were also taken into detention. A spokesman for the governor called this "a malicious operation against a certain group of politicians in Diyala." It is unclear where the arrest orders came from. The home of nother deputy governor, Talal al-Jubouri, was also raided. The force was unable to arrest Jubouri because he is currently in Jordan.
Separately, Iraqiya members of Diyala’s provincial council said they would return to Baquba now that the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has promised to protect them. They were forced to flee Baquba when violence erupted after their semi-autonomy vote. Many of the rioters were thought to come from Baghdad.
Through an aide, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani advised politicians to end their squabbles because Iraq cannot bear the pressure. The tensions were heightened last month after Diyala declared it would seek semi-autonomy status. Maliki responded by saying he would stop all such attempts and then began a harassment campaign against Sunni politicians.
A Hawija marketplace bombing left two dead and five wounded.
A civilian was killed and an officer was wounded during a small arms attack in Qadisiya.
A bombing in Balad left two wounded soldiers.
Two blasts in Riyadh left no casualties.
Two people were kidnapped in Kirkuk.