Iraq's Sunni vice president calls on insurgents

Iraq's Sunni vice president calls on insurgents
September 10th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Iraq's Sunni vice president calls on insurgents

Iraq's Sunni vice president calls on insurgents
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 09 September 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq_Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president called on insurgents Saturday
to join the Shiite prime minister's national reconciliation effort before it
was too late, while a Shiite festival that drew millions of pilgrims ended
without major incident.

In a relatively quiet day, a spate of other attacks around Iraq killed at
least 12 people _ including two gunmen and two would-be bombers. Seven
bodies, all showing signs of torture, were also found _ six dumped on the
streets of a city and one fished out of a river.

During a meeting with community leaders from Baghdad's predominantly Sunni
Arab Azamiyah district, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said it was not too
late yet to avoid spiraling sectarian conflict "as the rules of the game
have been changed and problems can't be solved only by weapons."

"This is a call for the Iraqi resistance to think ... and sit around the
negotiating table before it's too late," al-Hashimi told about 100 people at
the Islamic University in Azamiyah. "Differences will devastate Iraq and
this division is not to our benefit."

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who announced he will be visiting Iran on
Monday for talks on security and bilateral relations, launched a 24-point
reconciliation plan last month which he hopes will bridge the religious,
ethnic and political divisions that have been tearing Iraq apart since the
U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The plan includes an offer of amnesty to members of the Sunni Arab-led
insurgency not involved in terrorist activities, and calls for disarming
primarily Shiite sectarian militias.

But no major Sunni Arab insurgent group has publicly agreed to join the
plan, and many Shiite militias are controlled by legislators themselves.

Al-Hashimi's call comes as car bombings, mortar attacks and shootings have
killed hundreds of Iraqis in the past few weeks in spiraling sectarian

A major security operation in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 80 kilometers
(50 miles) south of Baghdad, ensured a festival observing the birthday of
Imam al-Mahdi, a 9th-century religious leader, passed off without incident.

In most sects of Shia Islam, Mahdi is considered the last "imam," or leader
of the Shiite community. The son of the 11th imam, Hasan al-Askari, he is
said to have disappeared in the 9th century. But Shiites believe he is still
alive and will one day return as a savior of mankind, to create a divine
global government based on justice, ending tyranny.

Authorities had imposed a four-day vehicle ban in the city, while thousands
of Iraqi police and soldiers _ backed by air support from the U.S.-led
coalition _ fanned out across Karbala to ward off potential suicide bombers.

Hundreds of people have died in suicide bombings and other attacks in
Karbala since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Suspicion has fallen on
Sunni Arab extremist groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq, which consider
Shiites to be heretics and American collaborators.

Many pilgrims walk to Karbala from across the country. But while several
attacks on processions heading to the city were reported in the days before
the festival, the event itself passed off without violence and authorities
lifted the vehicle ban on Saturday afternoon.

Authorities said that between 3 million and 4 million pilgrims from across
the Arab world, as well as from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and
India, attended the festival.

The "festival today ended without any incident," Minister of State for
National Security Sherwan al-Waili said, thanking Iraqi and coalition forces
for providing security.

But no day in Iraq goes by without some form of violence.

Two roadside bombs planted near each other exploded as a police foot patrol
passed by in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing four people and wounding
16, police said.

A parked car bomb also struck a U.S. military convoy in eastern Baghdad,
killing at least two passers-by and wounding five, police said. The U.S.
military said three coalition troops were wounded and were being treated in
a military hospital. U.S. soldiers cordoned off the area around a burned-out

In Baghdad's central Karradah district, gunmen killed Abdul Karim
al-Rubaiei, a technician of Iraq's government-run newspaper al-Sabah, and
wounded his driver as the two drove to work.

Authorities said police prevented a suicide car bomber from striking a
police station near a mosque in northern Baghdad by shooting the driver
before he could reach the building. But the explosives in his car still
detonated, killing one policeman and wounding 10 civilians, the Interior
Ministry said.

In the center of the capital, a bomb exploded as a man planted it by the
side of a road, killing him and wounding another person. Elsewhere in the
city, a parked car bomb explosion hit a passing fuel truck convoy, but left
only one truck burned and its driver wounded, police said.

Authorities also found the bullet-riddled bodies of six people dumped in
Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, the army said.
All had their hands and feet bound and bore signs of torture.

Police also found an unidentified body in the Tigris River in Suwayah, 25
miles south of Baghdad. The blindfolded, bound body had been shot several
times, Kut city morgue said.

Clashes broke out between gunmen and police in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225
miles) northwest of Baghdad, leaving two gunmen dead, police said.

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