News / Middle East

    Iraq's Leaders Back Fragile Power-Sharing Deal

    Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, center left, shakes hands with Osama al-Nujeifi, center right, the elected parliament speaker during a Parliament session in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010. Iraq's president gave Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Mali
    Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, center left, shakes hands with Osama al-Nujeifi, center right, the elected parliament speaker during a Parliament session in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010. Iraq's president gave Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Mali

    Iraq's president has asked Shi'ite incumbent Nouri al-Maliki to retain his position as prime minister and form a new government, but a dispute in parliament on a newly reached power-sharing deal prompted most of the Sunni-backed opposition to walk out, underscoring the agreement's fragility.

    Iraqi lawmakers Thursday re-elected Jalal Talabani as president. The Kurdish leader then nominated Mr. Maliki to form a unity government, paving the way for his return to office for another four-year term. Under Iraqi law, he has 30 days to form his Cabinet.

    But newly elected parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni Arab, and roughly two-thirds of the other 91 lawmakers from the Iraqiya coalition -- including former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi -- walked out of Thursday's session to protest the rejection of a series of demands they made.

    Among them were commitments to release detainees and reverse the disqualification of three Iraqiya candidates for their alleged ties to the outlawed Ba'ath Party of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Sunnis view the controversial de-Baathification process as a Shi'ite attempt to bar them from returning to power.

    Nujaifi later returned to the session, where voting had continued on Mr. Talabani's re-election. Earlier Thursday, parliament members also elected a Sadrist Movement member and a Kurdistan Alliance lawmaker as deputy speakers.

    The walkout underlined the Sunni minority's ambivalence over the prospective new unity government outlined in the deal, which ensures continued Shi'ite domination while giving Sunnis a role far short of the greater political power they seek.

    U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday welcomed the progress but urged Iraqi leaders involved in the fragile power-sharing arrangement to aim for an "inclusive government." The White House said Mr. Obama spoke to several Iraqi leaders in recent days and stressed the need for Mr. Allawi, other Iraqiya members and all the winning political blocs to hold leadership posts in the country's new government.

    Kurdish regional President Masoud Barzani, who brokered the agreement, said Thursday Mr. Allawi would lead a newly created committee overseeing foreign policy and national security, the National Council for Strategic Policies. The council's powers, however, remain undefined.

    For their part, Iraqi Kurds feel they have solidified their role in government. Though the presidency is a largely symbolic position, Mr. Talabani has been able to wield considerable power because of his background as a longtime Kurdish leader.

    Mr. Allawi's Iraqiya alliance won the most seats in inconclusive March elections but was unable to gain enough support from other parties to create a majority coalition. Iraqiya's inability to find political partners allowed Mr. Maliki, who partnered with anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in an Iranian-backed coalition, to gain momentum and support.

    If the shaky deal holds, it could end the stalemate that has paralyzed Iraqi state institutions as security forces battle insurgents who have taken advantage of the political vacuum to stoke violence.

    Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora