Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Sunni parliament speaker targeted in car bomb attempt

Politics, Security
Iraq's largest Sunni-Arab political party on Wednesday condemned a car bomb attack inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone that apparently attempted to kill Iraq's controversial speaker of parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani. The small bomb exploded Tuesday afternoon at the back of an armored car in the motorcade of the Sunni speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, as it was driving into a parking lot near the Green Zone's convention center, where al-Mashhadani and other Iraqi legislators were meeting, a parliamentary aide said.
The slightly wounded American security guard driver got out of the vehicle and found other explosive devices planted beneath it, the aide said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. "We strongly condemn this act," Ammar Wajih, the chief spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni-Arab part in Iraq, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "To plant a bomb in a heavily guarded place near the parliament building is a big security breach because few authorized persons can enter this area. The aim of this act is to hamper the political process." Mashhadani, a hard-line Sunni Arab nationalist reviled by many Shiites, was the fourth high-ranking Iraqi government official to be targeted by assailants in recent days.
Last summer, Shiite and Kurdish parties organized an unsuccessful bid to oust al-Mashhadani as parliament speaker after his comments about the insurgency and regional self-rule angered and embarrassed key political groups. He called the U.S. occupation of Iraq "the work of butchers." Al-Mashhadani had been angered by low attendance among Iraqi Accordance Front lawmakers that prevented the 275-seat body from making the quorum of 138 of the 275 lawmakers.
COMMENT: The disbanded Iraqi Ba'th Party issued, on September 5, 2006, a hit list of Iraqi political, judicial and military figures. Mashhadani's name was on the list. In the last few days several other politicians have been targeted, mainly from the Ministry of Health - widely believed to be associated with al-Sadr, as well as Minister of State Mohammed Abbas Auraibi. Most of the ministers have been Shias. It is possible that the Iraqi ba'th Party are carrying out their threat. COMMENT ENDS.

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