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

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' 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.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs