Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Report #35 on the Era of Peace

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Sunni politicians shot dead
From: Reuters
November 29, 2005

TWO Sunni Arab politicians and their bodyguard have been shot dead while driving in western Baghdad today, members of their party said.

Iyad Alizi and Ali Hussein died when gunmen opened fire on their car as they drove near Abu Ghraib in the west of the Iraqi capital.
It appeared to be a politically motivated attack ahead of December 15 elections.

Mr Alizi and Mr Hussein were both members of the Iraqi Islamic Party. Mr Alizi was one of the party's candidates for next month's parliamentary polls.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani condemned the shootings as an "act of terrorism", saying Mr Alizi was killed only because he was "a good Muslim who rejected violence and terrorism".

There has been an upsurge in Iraq's insurgency in the lead-up to the poll, in which voters will decide on Iraq's first full four-year parliament since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Sectarian violence has been on the rise in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion, pitting the Sunni Muslim minority, once dominant under Saddam, and the Shi'ite Muslim majority, now in control of the country with ethnic Kurds.

On November 5, Fakhri al-Qaisi, a spokesman for the National Dialogue Council, was badly wounded when he was shot five times in a similar attack in western Baghdad.

With Sunnis expected to vote in large numbers and the poll less than three weeks away, another attack on a Sunni politician was likely to provoke further anger towards the Government.

Sunni leaders accuse the Government of failing to stop, or even colluding with, "death squads" formed by Shi'ite militias bent on asserting the once-oppressed majority's domination and on reprisals against Sunni supporters of Saddam's rule.

Mr Alizi's Iraqi Islamic Party and Mr Qaizi's National Dialogue are part of a strong-looking Sunni Arab list for the election - the Iraqi Accordance Front.

The Sunni vote is hard to predict as most of the 20 per cent minority shunned Iraq's first post-Saddam ballot in January.


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