Sunni Constitution Drafter Killed;
Chalabi in Iran
Fakhri al-Qaisi of the National Dialogue Council was assassinated in Baghdad on Saturday. The Sunni politician had helped draft the new Iraqi constitution and was running for parliament. His group is part of a Sunni religious coalition that is running in the December 15 elections, a move opposed by the guerrilla movement, which most likely then took him out.
[The reports of al-Qaisi’s death, fortunately, appear to have been greatly exaggerated; he seems in fact to have survived.]
Guerrillas fired on a minibus near Balad Ruz northeast of Baghdad, killing 13 persons. The minibus was carrying a family of Shiite “Faili” Kurds.
The National Dialogue Council [Sunni Arab] called for the resignation Saturday of Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi, after the latter threatened that houses harboring terrorists would be destroyed. He was referring to US air strikes on suspected terrorist safe houses. Collective punishment is forbidden to occupying powers by the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, since the Nazis had used it so extensively.
Iraqi deputy premier Ahmad Chalabi met Saturday with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. IRNA writes, ‘”Iraq territorial integrity and independence and strength are special concerns for Iran.” The president also expressed concern on terrorism gripping Iraq and loss of lives of many innocent people saying that “these events are the tragic outcome of the occupation by foreign forces.” “Insecurity is an excuse for the continuation of the presence of US forces in the region.” Ahmadinejad further welcomed the Iraqi initiative for drawing a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces form the country.’
Chalabi admitted, ‘ One of Iraq’s high priorities in charting out its foreign policy is to boost its relations with Iran “which has played a positive role in the composition and formation of the Iraqi government . . . ” ‘
Knight Ridder profiles Muqtada al-Sadr, who by joining the United Iraqi Alliance coalition of religious Shiite parties has raised his political profile.
Mark Engler wonders whether Bush’s policies with regard to the ‘war on terror’ and Iraq will harm US business and turn the corporate sector against him.
Hamza Hendawi does a human interest story on how the mood is darkening among book sellers in Baghdad who were once ecstatic about the fall of Saddam.