According to Baghdad Police Command, Baghdad Provincial Council member Laith al-Dulaimi has admitted to being an al-Qaeda member and running a terrorist cell. Dulaimi, who was arrested at his home last week, is a member of the Iraqiya list. The Interior Ministry is looking into claims that the councilman’s confession was coerced.
Dulaimi is just the latest of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s rivals to face charges that some say are politically motivated. The most prominent target is Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who is being tried, in absentia, in a Baghdad court. Hundreds of other Sunnis and Iraqiya members have also been detained in recent months.
The marginalization of Sunnis began in earnest just as U.S. troops withdrew in December. The political tensions are threatening to tear the country apart and several political blocs are demanding that the prime minister step down. Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani accused the central government of wanting to ethnically cleanse Iraq. The Kurds are predominantly Sunni Muslims.
Only four deaths were reported today:
Gunmen killed a police officer in Falluja.
In Baghdad, gunmen killed an airport employee in Ghazaliya.
In Mosul, security forces killed two gunmen.