Maliki Promises Investigation Into Assassination of Key Opposition MP

Sunni Bloc Leader Was Influential Human Rights Advocate

According to a report from the government, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered the creation of a committee to investigate the assassination of Harith al-Obaidi, the leader of the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), the largest Sunni bloc in parliament.

Slain MP Harith al-Obaidi

Obaidi was killed by a gunmen in front of a mosque in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood, immediately after delivering a sermon condemning the Maliki government for abuses of human rights. Obaidi has been a leader in the opposition movement for human rights, and had heavy support both among Sunnis and the Shi’ite bloc loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Officials have blamed Sunni militants for the assassination, suggesting they may have resented Obaidi for participating in the government. Many have suggested it was designed to spark even more sectarian tension in the nation.

But the timing of the death, one day after Obaidi delivered a speech in parliament calling for the resignation of top government officials and just minutes after a sermon condemning the government, has led some to suspect that supporters of Prime Minister Maliki may in fact have been behind it. The neighborhood in which the mosque was located had multiple checkpoints, and it is unclear how a random gunmen could make his way to the mosque undetected.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.