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Iraq Parliament Returns to Work, Faces Unresolved Disputes


Iraq's parliament returned to work Tuesday after a month-long recess.

Lawmakers are facing a number of decisions on key issues, including a dispute over a provincial elections bill, and a security pact with the United States.

The parliament has been unable to pass a local elections law because of Kurdish objections to a power-sharing agreement for the provincial council of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

U.S. officials consider provincial elections to be a good indicator of whether Iraqi lawmakers can take advantage of recent security gains to make political progress.

Iraqi lawmakers also are expected to discuss a security pact to decide the future of American forces in the country.

In a separate development, Jawad Hattab, the Baghdad bureau chief of the Al-Arabiya television network, escaped an apparent attack after his driver discovered a bomb attached to his car before it exploded.

Al-Arabiya reports some of its employees have been receiving threats.

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