Iraq: Autonomy-Bid Governor Quits Over Tensions and Violence

An Iraqiya politician who led the way for a semi-autonomy bid that enraged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and triggered a national political crisis may have resigned according to an anonymous source in the political party. Meanwhile, at least two Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in random violence.

The governor of Diyala province, Abdul Nasser al-Mahdawi, has reportedly resigned his post over recent political tensions that climaxed, for him, in an arson attack on his home. In December, the council had voted to launch a semi-autonomy bid for the province. That vote was followed protests from Shi’ite citizens, but some of the demonstrations turned violent when militiamen allegedly from Baghdad arrived to support the demonstrators. The council building was attacked and so was some of the member’s homes. Death threats against the politicians were also made, forcing many to flee the province.

The council only recently was able to resume their work in the provincial capital when security was increased in Baquba. Mahdawi had insisted several other demands be met before he would return to the province from Kurdistan. Among them were the formation of committees to investigate the events that transpired after the declaration of the autonomy bid, the prosecution of those involved in post-bid violence, and the dropping of arrest warrants against Diyala politicians. Because Iraqiya won the most votes in the last election, the political bloc gets to choose his replacement.

This autonomy bid trigged a national crisis when Prime Minister Nouri al-Malliki promised to stop such bids and sent in troops. A walkout by the Iraqiya part followed. The tensions also led to a surge in retaliatory violence.

In Baghdad, gunmen killed the head of a women’s prison and wounded her driver. Eight civilians were wounded in a blast outside a Sunni Endowment office. A liquor store bombing left two people wounded. A bomb in Zaafaraniya wounded one person.

Gunmen attacked the home of a police officer in Abu Ghraib, where they killed the officer’s wife and wounded a child.

Four people were wounded during a blast in Mahmoudiya.

A bomb attached to a taxi cab exploded in Baquba and wounded its driver.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.