News / Middle East

Iraq Government Talks Delayed Again as Fighting Rages

Iraqi former Parliament speaker and the chairman of the Sunni Arab Coalition Osama al-Nujaifi, center, speaks to the media during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, July 13, 2014.
Iraqi former Parliament speaker and the chairman of the Sunni Arab Coalition Osama al-Nujaifi, center, speaks to the media during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, July 13, 2014.
VOA News

Iraq's parliament failed on Sunday to break a damaging political deadlock that is holding up the formation of new government, making no progress on choosing new leaders who could help hold the nation together and confront the Sunni militant blitz that has drawn to within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of Baghdad.

After a brief session lasting about 30 minutes, parliamentary officials delayed until Tuesday their efforts to reach agreement between the country's Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians on the posts of prime minister, president and parliamentary speaker.

The international community has pressed lawmakers to put their differences aside, while the United Nations has warned of chaos if the political impasse drags on for too long.

A man inspects the damage at his house after a bombing in al-Karma town, east of Fallujah, Iraq, July 13, 2014.A man inspects the damage at his house after a bombing in al-Karma town, east of Fallujah, Iraq, July 13, 2014.
x
A man inspects the damage at his house after a bombing in al-Karma town, east of Fallujah, Iraq, July 13, 2014.
A man inspects the damage at his house after a bombing in al-Karma town, east of Fallujah, Iraq, July 13, 2014.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose State of Law coalition is the largest individual list in parliament, is seeking a third term but faces opposition from Sunnis and Kurds, who say he has ruled for the Shi'ite majority at the expense of minority communities. Even rival Shi'ite parties wish to unseat Maliki.

The political impasse has been given added urgency by the Islamist-led insurgency that swept through Sunni provinces of northern Iraq last month and was only stemmed within a hundred miles from the capital. The fall of northern Sunni cities has encouraged Maliki's opponents to try to force his departure.

The disagreement over Maliki's future appeared to be blocking progress on the other political posts.

Sunni considerations

Hopes had been raised that lawmakers might at least vote on a speaker of parliament after Sunni blocs announced late Saturday that they had agreed on a candidate for the post, Salim al-Jubouri, a moderate Islamist.

But acting parliament speaker Mahdi al-Hafidh was forced to adjourn Sunday's session after just 30 minutes, he said, “due to the absence of any agreement on the names of the nominees for the three posts.”

“There are still deep differences,” he said. “We need more discussions to agree on the names.”

Sunni politicians accused Maliki of effectively torpedoing their proposal.

“We have presented our candidate for speaker and done what we should do,” said outgoing speaker Osama Nujaifi. “We hold the other blocs responsible for the delay.”

“Once we manage to complete the democratic process to form the government this would help to stop the great destruction happening in Iraq which is jeopardizing the country's unity.”

However, the names aren't the only point of contention. There is also disagreement on whether to choose the speaker, president and prime minister individually, or to agree to all three as a sort of package deal - which has been the case in the past.

Baghdad, Iraq mapBaghdad, Iraq map
x
Baghdad, Iraq map
Baghdad, Iraq map

Under an informal arrangement that took hold after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the speaker's chair goes to a Sunni, the presidency to a Kurd and the prime minister's post to a Shiite. The greatest disagreement is over prime minister, the most powerful position in the country.

The U.N. special envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said the country could plunge into chaos if parliament fails to move forward on a government in Sunday's session.

Violent deaths last month reached more than 2,400 - a level comparable to the worst of the bloodshed seen during Iraq's 2005-2008 sectarian war.

Biden on Iraq

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden talked on Saturday with  Masoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, and discussed the need for the quick formation of a government and peaceful resolution of territorial disputes, the White House said.

With politics in Baghdad paralyzed, and Maliki continuing in a caretaker role, the fighting has raged on.

Sunni Islamist insurgents attacked a town north of Baghdad on Sunday, seizing local government buildings and killing at least six people, including two police officers.

Officials say the assault on Dhuluiya, about 50 miles north of the capital, began early Sunday.

Government forces had retaken Dhuluiya last month after it had been overrun by the militants, but a new drive toward Baghdad appears to be underway.

Iraqi officials said militants in 50 to 60 vehicles stormed the town  at 3.30 am (0030 GMT), taking the mayor's office and municipal council building and fighting to take control of the police station.

The police and witnesses said local police and tribes were battling the militants in Dhuluiya on Sunday. They said four policemen were killed in the fighting, as well as two militants and two civilians.

Insurgents led by the al-Qaida offshoot Islamic State seized swaths of Iraq's northern provinces in a two-day offensive last month and have also consolidated their grip in western Iraq where they have been fighting since the start of the year.

Audio recording

Overnight, an audio recording emerged that is purportedly from the one-time deputy of executed dictator Saddam Hussein called on Iraqis to join efforts to "liberate" the country and praised the offensive by Sunni militants.

The voice recording released on a website loyal to Saddam's ousted Baath Party was said to have been made by Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the most senior member of his entourage still at large following Saddam's 2003 overthrow by a U.S.-led invasion force.

Although elderly and reported to have been in poor health, Douri is believed to lead the Baathist militant group the Naqshbandi Army, one of several groups which supported the al-Qiada offshoot the Islamic State.

"Join the ranks of the rebels who liberated half the country," said the voice on the recording, which resembled previous tapes released in Douri's name, the Associated Press reported.

"The liberation of Baghdad is around the corner. Everyone should contribute, to the extent of his ability, to complete the liberation of the beloved country, because there is no honour or dignity without its liberation."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 13, 2014 12:46 PM
Maliki is yet to step down simply because Iran has not chosen his successor and when they do they will tell the dull puppet follower to step aside ,Maliki is 50% of Iraq's problem, remove him and make progress.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More