Iraq hit by more bombs

The bombing will add to fears of Iraq's growing political instability since the pull-out of Americans forces earlier this month.The government is on the verge of collapse after Iraqiya, the bloc representing most Sunnis, walked out of the cross-sectarian coalition in protest at the Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr Maliki had issued a warrant for the arrest of Tariq al-Hashemi, the Sunni vice-president, accusing him of being responsible for terror attacks.Yesterday's bomb exploded at a checkpoint, and most of the dead were policemen, according to officials.

No one claimed responsibility. But last week's coordinated attacks at a dozen points around Baghdad, in which more than 70 people died, was attributed to Sunni terror groups who fear that the American withdrawal will hand almost limitless power to the country's Shia majority.

Mr Maliki's decision to seek the arrest of Mr Hashemi on what his supporters said were old and trumped up charges was seen as evidence. Mr Maliki also sought a vote of no confidence in the Sunni deputy prime minister, Saleh al-Mutlak.

Mr Maliki's coalition may now be lucky to survive. An Iraqiya MP, Haider al-Mulla, called for a vote of no confidence in Mr Maliki.His own Shia allies, the radical Sadrists, are calling for fresh elections.

But Mr Maliki has also proved adept at bringing Shia groups behind his political umbrella and squeezing potential opposition. In a further example, the Shia armed group responsible for the kidnapping of the British computer consultant Peter Moore in 2007 and the killing of four of his bodyguards yesterday said it was renouncing violence.

It is unlikely that this will bring any nearer the day that the body of one of the men, Alan McMenemy, which is still being held, is returned to his family.

By Richard Spencer, The Telegraph


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