The main Sunni Arab political bloc began a boycott of Parliament on Sunday to protest the kidnapping of a Sunni legislator and threatened to withdraw its members from the prime minister's cabinet unless the lawmaker was freed within the next 48 hours.
The walkout was the first serious disruption in Iraq's new government and reflected the fragility of the power-sharing arrangement in the face of the relentless sectarian violence overwhelming the nation.
The legislator, Tayseer Najah al-Mashhadani, and eight of her guards were kidnapped by people suspected of being Shiite militiamen on Saturday while driving into Baghdad from her home north of the capital. Ms. Mashhadani's party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, belongs to the Iraqi Consensus Front, the umbrella Sunni bloc that holds 44 of the Parliament's 275 seats and has often criticized the Shiite-led government security forces.
The above is from Kirk Semple's "Sunnis Boycott Parliament After Colleague's Kidnapping" in this morning's New York Times. Nine members have e-mailed on it this morning asking about Leqa al-Yaseen? She's not mentioned in the article. It was reported Sunday morning (which is how it made it into The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Iraq" Sunday morning). If you're lost, al-Yaseen (Sunni) reportedly was targeted in a kidnapping attempt and either she survived it due to her car making it through (as part of a convoy) or she wasn't present. Regardless "several" of her bodyguards were kidnapped in the attempt.
It did make it into the Washington Post as Martha highlight demonstrates, from Joshua Partlow's "Sunnis Boycott Iraqi Parliament Over Kidnapping of Legislator:"
The violence continued on Sunday. A mortar attack hit the Muhammad Bakir al-Hakeem Hospital in the Shula neighborhood of northern Baghdad, killing eight people and wounding 16 others, said Col. Sami Hassan of the Interior Ministry.
Also, Iraqi patrols discovered 11 unidentified corpses floating in the Euphrates River between Hilla and Ramadi in western Iraq. The bodies, of men believed to be in their 20s and 30s, showed signs of torture and had gunshot wounds to the heads, Hassan said.
A car bomb targeting police exploded in the central Baghdad district of Karrada, killing two policemen and one civilian and wounding eight other people. Another car bomb near a Baghdad bus station killed three more people, police said.
A Shiite lawmaker survived an assassination attempt in the Mahmudiyah area south of Baghdad. The motorcade of parliament member Liqa al-Yaseen was attacked by gunmen, who abducted eight of her bodyguards, but she managed to escape, said Maj. Gen. Salim Khaiyon of the Interior Ministry.
I'd intended one entry this morning because, with the 4th falling on Tuesday, a number of people are taking Monday as a holiday as well. However, Martha has another highlight and we'll lead with it in the next entry. (Yes, I saw Semple's word screw-up -- not excerpted -- it made me laugh out of familiarity -- I do that ALL the time here -- I didn't think it was a reflection of his reporting but if those who caught it want to complain, the one to complain to the Times about is the editor who didn't catch it before it made it into print.)
Rod passes on today's scheduled broadcast of Democracy Now!:
Monday, July 3, 2006: An hour with legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger talking about his music, politics, Woody Guthrie, censorship, the background to the songs "We Shall Overcome" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," and more.
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