Monday, July 25, 2005

Sunnis rejoin Iraq's constitutional commission

Like they had a choice. The walkout was an excercize in futility. They either stay with the process or they become completely irrelevant.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunni Arab members of a committee drafting Iraq's new constitution ended their boycott Monday, six days after jeopardizing the credibility of the nascent political process by walking out in protest over the assassinations of two fellow Sunni constitution framers.

Their decision to return eased the threat that the country's new constitution would be a product of only two of three major Iraqi ethnic and religious groups. Leaving out the Sunni Arabs, who form the core of the insurgency, would dim hopes for a political exit from the incessant violence gripping the country.

On Monday, a minibus packed with explosives detonated at a checkpoint outside a hotel once used by American contractors, killing at least 12 people and injuring at least 18, hospital officials and police said.

Also, a U.S. soldier was killed Monday when a roadside bomb exploded under his vehicle near Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, the U.S. command said. The soldier was assigned to Task Force Liberty, which oversees security in a large area of the infamous Sunni Triangle, the main center of the insurgency.

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