14 Iraqis Killed As National Alliance Is Asked To Select A Replacement PM

A formal letter has been sent to the National Alliance, asking the bloc to select a replacement for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. According to a spokeswoman for the Iraqiya bloc, Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi, and parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi all signed the letter. The letter could be a prelude to a "no confidence" vote, which this new coalition has been threatening for weeks.

Sadr, Barzani and Allawi head three of the largest blocs in parliament. The group gave the National Alliance a week to respond, but the State of Law party, to which Maliki belongs, already said they would reject the demand. Maliki could avoid the vote altogether by simply adhering to the 2010 deal that allowed him to remain in power. Instead, the group says, he has ignored important provisions and consolidated increasing amounts of power.

Separately, Sinan al-Shabibi, who heads the central bank, said that Iraq must reduce its reliance on the government and help private businesses thrive in order to overcome economic difficulties. Because of the over-dependence on the state and the nationalized oil sector, unemployment is thought to be as high as thirty percent.

At least 14 Iraqis were killed and 11 more were wounded in new violence:

A bomb exploded at the Baquba home of a Sahwa member, killing three people, including the member’s wife and two minor children; he and two more sons were wounded.

A few minutes later a blast at a home in Gatoun killed three people and wounded four more.

Four policemen were killed and two more were wounded when gunmen attacked a Ramadi checkpoint.

A small arms attack left one soldier dead and two more wounded in Rashad.

The body of a young man who was shot in the head was found in Hammam al-Alil.

Soldiers in Mosul killed two gunmen.

Also, in Baghdad, a significant dust storm shut down the airport and threatened to delay Iran nuclear talks. A large fire of unknown origins broke out in a provincial government building.

At a border crossing near Basra, Iraqi and Iranian officials formally exchanged the remains of 111 soldiers who were killed during the 1980-88 war.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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