Iraq Sunni Party Leader Arrested

Iraq Sunni party leader arrested (Forbes – AFX)

The leader of Iraq’s main Sunni party Mohsen Abdel Hamid was arrested by US forces in Baghdad today along with his three sons, a party official said.

No reason was given for the arrest and the US military in Baghdad was not immediately able to confirm the incident.

Hamid, leader of the Iraq Islamic Party, was hooded and taken away after US troops broke windows in his home and allegedly mistreated him and his sons, the party official said.

This is certainly not a good sign of inter-group cooperation emerging. One hopes Hamid is replaced by a more moderate figure. One fears his arrest will, for a time at least, only further incite Sunni-Shia anger.

Update (2101): It was all a mistake.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Cernig says:

    Umm…he was released 10 hours later and the US military said it was a mistake. The Telegraph has full details.

    “US troops outraged Iraq’s new government yesterday by arresting one of the country’s foremost Sunni leaders only to release him later and call the whole episode a mistake.

    Firing stun grenades, American soldiers burst into the home of Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, head of the largest Sunni Arab political party, shortly after dawn. They forced a hood over his head and dragged him away along with his three sons.

    A number of Sunni politicians and religious leaders have been accused of links to Iraq’s insurgency – but never Mr Abdul-Hamid.”

    A mistake! The US Army can hardly say they were unaware of his identity – he was selected by Bemer’s Iraqi governing council shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein and briefly served as its president as well as being influential in bringing Sunni Arabs who boycotted January’s elections back into the political process. They knew who he was and where he lived.

    So let’s see. Arrest a prominent and until now friendly politician with extreme violence, without permission from his sovereign government. Piss of his faction which is one of the best hopes of turning the Sunni community against the insurgents. Piss of the Iraqi government by making them look like puppets you can ignore. Do they want to start a civil war as well as drive even more Iraqis into the insurgents arms?

    It’s has to be arrogant incompetence on a massive scale.

    Regards, C