Baghdad bomb kills 5 as parliament session suspended due to wrangling

Baghdad bomb kills 5 as parliament session suspended due to wrangling
September 10th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Baghdad bomb kills 5 as parliament session suspended due to wrangling

Baghdad bomb kills 5 as parliament session suspended due to wrangling
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 10 September 2006


BAGHDAD, Iraq_A bomb in a busy commercial area of central Baghdad killed
five people Sunday, as lawmakers' wrangling over a draft bill that Sunni
Arab groups fear will break up the country led to parliament suspending its
debate before it could even begin.

The roadside bomb detonated near a mobile phone shop near Tahrir Square, a
popular commercial area with shops specializing in electronic goods,
photographers' equipment and mobile telephones. At least five people were
killed and another 17 were wounded, police Lt. Ali Metaab said.

Less than an hour later, a parked car bomb exploded behind a police station
in the al-Alwiya district, killing a police officer and wounding five police
commandos and two civilians, police Lt. Col. Mohammed Abbas Salman said.

South of the city, six bodies, all blindfolded, with their hands and feet
tied and bearing signs of torture, were taken to a morgue in the city of
Kut. They had been found in the nearby Tigris River, said Maamoun Ajil
al-Rubai of the hospital morgue in Kut, 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast
of Baghdad.

Bodies are frequently found dumped on city streets or in rivers across the

In the Shiite city of Amarah, 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of
Baghdad, a guard for the Sunni endowment building was kidnapped by
unidentified gunmen who broke into the building Sunday morning, the
governor's spokesman Thafar Jabar said.

The violence came as a parliament session was suspended before it even began
after two major Sunni blocs boycotted the proceedings because of a dispute
over a draft bill submitted by the country's largest grouping of Shiite

The bill, submitted by the Iraqi United Alliance, would establish a
three-way federal system in Iraq by setting up a separate autonomous state
in the southern region where Shiites are dominant.

Sunni groups have said they fear the bill is an attempt to break up the

The Iraqi Accordance Front, parliament's largest Sunni bloc, and the
National Dialogue Front of Saleh al-Mutlaq said they would not take part in
Sunday's parliament session unless their own calls for amending the
country's constitution were examined.

The Iraqi National List of the former secular prime minister, Ayad Alawi,
and the group of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr at the United Iraqi
Alliance joined the Sunni parties in boycotting the session.

Sunni lawmaker Hashim al-Taie of the Iraqi Accordance Front said parliament
speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani suspended the session _ initially for 30
minutes _ to try and reach agreement with lawmakers on the day's agenda for

The last attempt to discuss the proposed law in parliament, last Thursday,
resulted in acrimonious debate that led al-Mashhadani to interrupt the
session and a live broadcast from parliament to be pulled off the air.

The draft bill was not the only political dispute.

Mohamed al-Dayni, a Sunni lawmaker with Iraqi National Dialogue Front,
called on the president and parliament to intervene in a dispute over the
Iraqi flag which has led to deteriorating relations between Baghdad and the
country's autonomous Kurdish region in the north.

Al-Dayni told reporters that Kurds had removed the Iraqi national flag from
all government buildings the border town of Mandali, which lies just outside
the Kurdish region in Diyala province, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east
of Baghdad. The town has an estimated population of about 45,000, most of
whom are Shiite Kurds.

Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani sparked the flag dispute on Sept. 1 when he
ordered the country's national banner to be replaced by the Kurdish tricolor
on all government buildings in his autonomous Kurdish region.

Mandali's mayor, Abdul-Hussein Abbas, denied that the Kurdish flag had been
raised on any of the buildings in the town, but said that 17 of the 21
members in the local council had voted on Saturday for Mandali to become a
part of Kurdistan by joining the Kurdistan Regional Government.

"No official measures have been adopted yet and Iraqi flag is still hoisted
on the governmental buildings," Abbas told The Associated Press, adding that
"we are still part of Diyala province for the time being."

The governor of Diyala province, Raad Rashid Jawad, stressed he would not
allow the town to become part of Kurdistan. "Mandali is within the
geographical borders of Diyala," he said.

Iraq's Kurdish north has been gaining more autonomy since the 2003 U.S.-led
invasion, which many Iraqi leaders, especially Sunni Arabs, see as a
particularly worrying development.

The country's first interim Governing Council after the fall of Saddam
Hussein decided to change the country's flag, but no official version has
been adopted.

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