Suicide bomber Killed 36 Iraqis; Saddam Hussein's cousin gets second death sentence; Iraq-Iran parliamentary friendship come closer
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  • Suicide bombers struck across Iraq targeting Iraqi and US security forces and killing as many as 36 people, including 15 cadets, at a police academy in Baghdad. Also in the capital, Maj. Gen. Mudher Mawla, overseeing the transition of tens of thousands of mainly Sunni Arab paramilitary fighters into the Iraqi security forces and other government entities, escaped an assassination attempt during the week. The roadside bomb targeting him killed one of his bodyguards.

    While general levels of violence have dropped dramatically across Iraq over the past year, bombings remained a daily threat. According to data from the Health and Interior ministries, the death toll for November was 339, compared with 278 in October. However, the number was far lower than the previous year, when 608 Iraqis died in war-related violence during November. The UN’s Iraq envoy, Staffan de Mistura on his part predicted “spectacular attempts” by insurgents to disrupt the provincial elections and derail security gains made in recent months1.

    An Iraqi court meanwhile sentenced Saddam Hussein's cousin ‘Chemical Ali’ to death for crushing a Shi'ite revolt after the 1991 Gulf War. It was the second death sentence to be handed down against Ali Hassan al-Majeed, who earned his nickname for his role in using poison gas against Kurdish villages. Al-Majeed was first condemned to be hanged last year for the killing of tens of thousands of Kurds in the 1980s, but that sentence was held up by political wrangling. The court, the Iraqi High Tribunal, was set up to try former members of Saddam's government. Saddam was executed in December 2006 after being convicted of crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shi'ite men and boys after a 1982 assassination attempt. Also on trial are former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, facing charges over the execution of dozens of merchants accused of breaking state price controls in 19922.

    In other developments, MP Heshmatolh Falahatpisheh announced that the members of Iraq-Iran parliamentary friendship group will visit Tehran in the near future at the invitation of the Iranian parliament. The MP also noted that Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani’s visit to Iraq was on the agenda. His Iraqi counterpart, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani’s visited Tehran in October3.