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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora