Thursday, April 28, 2005

IRAQI WOMAN MP ASSASSINATED

Note, how Reuters combines the wanton terrorist murder of an elected member of Parliament, a woman no less, with the battle of the elected Parliament to form their first full cabinet and funtioning Iraqi government... a soft pedal (check that a blatant) attempt at implying causality. REUTERS -

Iraqi MP Killed; No Government Announced
Wed Apr 27, 2005
By Michael Georgy

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gunmen assassinated an Iraqi woman member of parliament Wednesday in a fresh shock to politicians whose failure to form a government three months after elections has allowed violence to thrive unchecked.
Iraqi police said Lame'a Abed Khadawi, a member of caretaker Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's political party, was shot dead outside her house in eastern Baghdad. She is the first person in the 275-seat National Assembly to be killed.

Allawi himself survived a suicide car bomb attack on his convoy this month. Khadawi was one of around 90 women elected to the assembly on Jan. 30. By law, a third of the candidates on party lists had to be women.

Pressure has mounted on Iraq's politicians to end months of post-election bickering. America's top general urged them on Tuesday to form a new government quickly to combat an insurgency he said was as strong as it had been a year ago.
Prime minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters he had sent his proposed cabinet list to the three-man presidential council for approval and said he expected it would go before the National Assembly for a vote Thursday.

"We can't talk about what names are on the list until it is formally approved by the parliament," Jaafari said, adding that said seven women would be included in what is expected to be a cabinet of 32 or 33 ministers.

Hopes of announcing a government have repeatedly been dashed during three months of squabbling over the distribution of ministries to rival sects. Politicians had hoped the election would lead Iraq to stability and economic recovery.

SIGNS OF IMPATIENCE

Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said speeding up the political process would be the best way to weaken a relentless
insurgency.

"The political process must go forward," he told a Pentagon briefing. "We must have a cabinet appointed here very quickly. The ministries must continue to work. People must focus on two things: developing a constitution and developing their ministries into functioning ministries that continue to help."

Despite nearly 140,000 U.S. troops and a similar number of Iraqi forces, guerrillas have the same capability to attack as they did a year ago, staging 50 or 60 attacks a day, Myers said.

Myers and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld noted a recent rise in violence coinciding with the political impasse.

Iraq's al Qaeda wing said it had killed two Interior Ministry officials in an ambush on their car in west Baghdad on Wednesday, according to an Internet statement.

The group said it had killed Lieutenant Jihad La'eebee, his son, who was also an Interior Ministry official, and three bodyguards. The statement could not be immediately authenticated.

Iraq's newly powerful Shi'ites and Kurds have been promising to form a government that will also give Sunnis, who lost their grip on power with the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein, an important role in running the country. But Sunni leaders said on Tuesday they were unhappy with their allotment of ministries. (they didn't vote and while Saddam was in power they benefited from the oppression and outright murder of the Kurds and Shiites - this is a conciliatory gift to them!)

Iraqi officials fear insurgents have benefited from the wrangling over key ministries such as defense, interior and oil, each of which is coveted by Shi'ite, Kurdish and
Sunni leaders.

The delays in naming a cabinet have deepened frustrations among millions of Iraqis who braved suicide bombings to vote.

Rebel violence has surged in recent weeks. Two twin car bombings killed 22 people Sunday, and more than 300 Iraqi security personnel have died in the last six weeks.

ROMANIAN HOSTAGES

The captors of three Romanian journalists have threatened to kill them Wednesday unless Bucharest withdraws its troops.

Romania, a staunch U.S. ally, asked the kidnappers to extend the deadline, but did not say if it planned to pull out its 800 soldiers. The government has faced increasing pressure from the public and opposition parties as a result of the hostage crisis.

....Prima TV reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, 32, cameraman Sorin Miscoci, 30, and Romania Libera daily journalist Ovidiu Ohanesian, 37, were snatched in Baghdad on March 28.

In the latest Al Jazeera video tape aired Tuesday, they were shown handcuffed, sitting on the floor and guarded by armed masked men. They appeared haggard and distressed.

Al Jazeera said the journalists made a "final appeal" to Romanian President Traian Basescu, adding that the kidnappers had set 1400 GMT Wednesday as the deadline for killing them. The deadline passed with no fresh word on their
fate.

In a separate tape Al Jazeera showed their translator, Mohamad Munaf, who has U.S., Romanian and Iraqi citizenship, asking President Bush to help save his life.
(Additional reporting by Will Dunham at the Pentagon and Heba Kandil in Dubai)

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