Al-Maliki Calls for Majority Rule; US Soldier Killed at Najaf, Japanese fired on at Ramadi

Nuri al-Maliki called late Thursday for an end to the consensus system in Iraqi politics, which gives Kurds and sometimes Sunni Arabs a virtual veto over legislation they do not like. In an interview with the American Arabic-language satellite station al-Hurra (which is very little watched) al-Maliki called for majority rule with straight up and down votes in parliament rather than the long parleys intended to keep everyone, in government or in opposition, happy. The consensus system stems from pacts made with the Kurds and Sunni Arabs by the Shiite majority in the year after the fall of Saddam Hussein, a period in which al-Maliki admitted that consensus rule had be necessary. But now he feels it is a drag.

Al-Maliki and other Shiite theorists of the future of Iraq tend to dismiss concerns about a tyranny of the majority. They should not. Studies show that countries with significant minorities but a dominant political faction tend to be more violent.

The US military made three arrests in the course of its current operation against arms smugglers in northern Iraq who are part of a ring based in Syria, especially that of Abu Khalaf, on whom the Department of the Treasury has slapped sanctions.

Jasim Azzawi of Aljazeera English investigates the reasons for the increase in street violence in Iraq in recent weeks.

Another mass grave was found in Najaf Province, containing bodies of Kurds killed in Saddam Hussain’s Anfal campaign of 1988 during the last months of the Iran-Iraq War.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Saturday:

‘ Baghdad

At 8 a.m. a mortar round targeted Sadr City in northeastern Baghdad on Saturday. It destroyed a house, killed one little boy and injured both his younger brother and their mother.

A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol on Abu Ghraib highway, in west Baghdad at noon Saturday killing two police officers and injuring two policemen and five civilians.

A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol near al Ghadeer traffic bridge, eastern Baghdad at 1 p.m. Saturday killing two policemen and injuring two policemen and three civilians.

– Around 5 p.m a roadside bomb detonated in Jihad neighborhood in western Baghdad on Saturday. Three people were wounded.

Nineveh

A gunman shot and killed a policeman at a checkpoint in Yarmouk neighborhood, western Mosul on Friday evening. The gunman was sitting in the passenger seat of a car stopped for a more thorough search. He shot and killed the policeman, then tried to escape on foot. He did not get far before police shot him. He was captured alive. The driver escaped by speeding away in the car.

A U.S. military helicopter was shot down in the vicinity of Mosul said Iraqi Police. On Saturday night a U.S. military spokesman said they had “no reports from Mosul that a U.S. helicopter went down today.”

– A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol in Ghayara town(about 37 miles west of Mosul). One soldier was killed and two others were wounded.

Anbar

A group of Japanese nationals negotiating a contract in Anbar were targeted by sniper fire in Ramadi at 11 a.m. Thursday. One of their private security detail was injured.

Najaf

A roadside bomb targeted a U.S. military convoy in Jrewiyah neighborhood in the city of Najaf. The incident resulted in the death of one U.S. soldier and the injury of another, said Najaf Police. The U.S. Military said that one soldier was killed in the south of Iraq. It is not clear whether the two reports are about the same incident.

Babil

A farmer was killed by fire from the U.S. Military on a road in Neel area, 5 km to the north of Hilla Saturday morning said Iraqi Police. A U.S. military spokesman said that the military were removing IEDs planted along the main road and searching for explosives when the driver approached in his car, not paying attention to the warning signs, so they opened fire and killed him.

Basra

A member of the Civil Defence was killed accidentally by a hand grenade explosion in Abu al Khaseeb neighborhood, 20 km to the south of Basra City. His team was removing captured weapons and ammunition when the hand grenade exploded and killed him.

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