Iraq’s Higher Judicial Council has ordered the arrest, on old corruption charges, of two members of the country’s electoral commission. One of the members, the head of the commission, is a political rival of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the arrests will, no doubt, energize the premier’s critics. Since the United States withdrew from Iraq in December, the Judicial Council has often sided with the prime minister against his rivals, such as Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.
Faraj al-Haidari first drew Maliki’s ire after resisting a full recount votes in the 2010 elections. Maliki’s State of Law party came in second, forcing the prime minister into months of political deal-making to retain his post for a second term. State of Law had sought corruption charges previously, but was unable to convince other parties to join them. Haidari and Karim al-Tamimi are accused of misusing state funds in handing out bonuses. The officials called the charges an effort to exert political pressure.
Meanwhile, at least 11 Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in new violence. At least two attacks were directed at pilgrims.
Five pilgrims were killed and six more were wounded when gunmen blocked a bus carrying pilgrims in Samarra and then open fired.
In Baghdad, gunmen killed two pilgrims and wounded six more who were traveling to Karbala. Two people were killed and three more were wounded in a roadside blast in Yusufiya.
A bomb in Madaen killed one policeman and wounded two others.
A police officer was killed and a policeman was wounded in a Ramadi blast.