01 April 2012
Sustained violence by suspected al-Qaeda militants ahead of 27-29 March Arab League summit in Baghdad: militants 5 March killed 27 policemen, senior officers in Haditha; suicide attacks 7 March killed at least 12 in Tal Afar (Nineveh); gunmen 12 March attacked Baghdad gold market killing 9; series of coordinated attacks 20 March killed over 50 people in 14 cities, including Baghdad, Kirkuk, Karbala. Tensions between ruling coalition partners continued: Iyad Allawi-led Iraqiya bloc 18 March reiterated threat to withdraw from ruling coalition unless govt implement Erbil power-sharing agreement. Opposition Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) mid-month split from Badr Organisation after Badr refused to withdraw its minister from ruling coalition. Kurdish regional President Barzani 20 March criticised PM Maliki’s “monopolisation of military power”. Higher Judicial Council 17 March announced VP al-Hashimi to be tried in absentia 3 May for allegedly running death-squads. Estimated 1 million supporters of Shiite Cleric Moqtada Sadr staged demonstration in Basra marking 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Militant group loyal to Sadr 17 March released former U.S. soldier abducted in June 2011.