An important Sunni politician living in Baghdad was kidnapped in the middle of the night from his home. Eight black S.U.V.s packed with Shiite militiamen pulled up to the home and carried away the politician and four of his bodyguards. The politician, Riyadh al-Adhadh, is the president of Baghdad’s provincial council.
According to the bodyguards, they were taken to a secret location where they were held for hours. During that time, they were beaten and interrogated about the actions of their boss. The abducted men were returned to the home alive the next afternoon. Mr. Adhadh was not harmed during the ordeal.
Many are not so lucky. In the town of Taji, all five members of a Shiite family, including children, were found beheaded. In Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province, the bodies of six Sunni militants were hung from streetlights and a bridge.
Iraq is already in the grip of a political crisis and many factions are more than willing to use intimidation and violence to increase their political clout. The government is also fighting against the advances of Sunni militants fighting under the banner of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS now controls large amounts of territory in the northern and western areas of Iraq, including Mosul in the north and much of Anbar Province in the west.
The United States and other foreign powers want Iraq to form a new, inclusive government that includes representatives from the Sunnis and Kurds, Iraq’s two main minority groups. A Sunni, Salim al-Jubouri, was recently named the new speaker of Parliament. The position of president was filled by a Kurd, Fouad Massoum. It is expected that the position of prime minister will be filled by a member of the Shiite majority.