“Iraq Sunnis May Leave Government After Killing”
The Washington Post, February 15, 2015, p.A14
“The brazen kidnapping and slaying of a Sunni sheik and eight members of his entourage in the Iraqi capital was met with outrage by Sunni politicians Saturday, deepening sectarian distrust and threatening to tear apart the country’s fragile government. Sunni politicians said they would boycott parliament after the killing of Sheik Qasim al-Janabi, a moderate Sunni tribal leader, his son and the other members of their convoy, blaming the Friday night assault on Shiite militias that they say the government has allowed to act with impunity. Discussions continued into the night as to whether Sunni parties should pull out of the government altogether. … While not the most grievous of such acts leveled at the country’s Shiite militias, the fact that the Janabi slaying occurred in central Baghdad drew particular ire. The sheik and his group were pulled over at a fake checkpoint in the city’s southwest. Their bodies — hands bound and shot execution style — were later found dumped in a largely Shiite neighborhood in the city’s northeast. Janabi’s nephew, a member of parliament, was kidnapped with him but was released after being severely beaten. The perpetrators wore the uniforms of Iraqi security forces, he told the local news media. … A close friend of the slain tribal leader, Mutlak said Janabi had been a voice of moderation. … Hakim al-Zamili, who heads parliament’s defense and security committee, promised that the incident would be investigated. But many Sunnis are skeptical. Zamili is a militia leader accused of running death squads during Iraq’s sectarian war. The interior minister is a member of the Badr Brigades, another Shiite militia.”
Quickie Analysis: Similar killings have proven to be turning points in many other conflicts in the Middle East, including in Iraq’s own recent history.