Riyadh and Arab Gulf see Shiite hands behind Iraqi Sunni leader’s slaying

debkafile‘s Gulf sources report that the assassination Friday, June 12, of Hareth al-Obaidi, head of the Iraqi Accordance Front bloc, is seen as a major disaster for the Sunni Arab world and an omen of worse to come.
US combat troops complete their withdrawal from Iraqi cities by the end of the month ahead of upcoming national elections.
Fears of a systematic liquidation of Sunni leaders in Iraq at the hands Iraqi and Iranian Shiites figured large in US president Barack Obama’s last conversation with Saudi king Abdullah in Riyadh on June 3 just before his Cairo University speech
Al-Obaidi, an imam, who was also deputy head of the Iraqi parliament’s Human Rights Committee, was specifically targeted by a 15-year old gunman, who burst in the al-Shawaf Mosque in Baghdad’s western Yarmouk neighborhood after Friday prayers. The killer shot the Sunni lawmaker who led the prayers and his security guard dead. Then to cover his getaway he hurled a grenade which killed three Sunni worshippers. The assassin was killed as he tried to flee. Our counter-terror sources say the killer made straight for his target having clearly been briefed in advance.
When they met in Riyadh, Obama asked King Abdullah to put a stop to young Saudis crossing into Iraq to fight with Iraqi Sunni insurgents. The king rebuffed him and accused Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki of joining with Tehran to conduct a systematic purge of Sunni Arab political and military power centers in Iraq. The monarch warned the US president that Tehran would be encouraged to intensify this campaign by the imminence of US-Iran talks. Obama denied that Maliki was an Iranian puppet but Abdullah was not convinced.
After the Obeidi murder, he will be less convinced than ever, especially as it is one of a series.
Gulf sources are more concerned by what they see as a Tehran-backed campaign against Sunni Arabs in Iraq than the Iranian election. They believe that the next Iranian president, whether the incumbent Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad or any the challengers, will not change present policies with regard to Iraq, the region as whole or Iran’s aspirations for a nuclear weapon.

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