Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was forced to reinstate Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq after trying to sack him December. Maliki had accused Mutlaq of "administrative irregularities," but the deputy p.m. had at the time called Maliki a "dictator." In order to replace Mutlaq, Maliki needed the support of the House of Representatives, which he never received.
Mutlaq was fired just a day after Maliki began his campaign against Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who also is Sunni. It was also the day following the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. Hashemi is still awaiting trial. Many view these and other acts as proof of Maliki’s marginalization of Sunnis on his way to a new dictatorship.
Meanwhile, only two Iraqi deaths were reported.
In Baaj, a dumped body was found.