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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora