Iraqi Parliament Adjourns
ASEAN Calls for US Withdrawal from Iraq
Iraq’s parliament went on a one-month hiatus Tuesday afternoon, having not passed any significant legislation. Bush had outlined 4 ‘benchmarks’ last January that the Iraqi government needed to meet by June. These were passage of a petroleum law, passage of a law specifying distribution of the petroleum revenues, revisions of debaathification rules [which harm Sunni Arabs], and progress on Sunni-Shiite reconciliation. Nothing has been accomplished on any of these fronts.
Corruption is rife in Iraqi ministries, including Health and Petroleum, according to Aram Roston and Lisa Myers of NBC news. Enormous numbers of medicines, and great amounts of gasoline and kerosene, are embezzled by ministry employees. Crony and ethnic favoritism sends Sunnis to jail while equally guilty Shiites walk free. And there have been ghost units of police that only existed on paper.
Ned Parker of the LA Times reports that the Ministry of Interior is a whole set of institutions that are not united among themselves.
US allies in Southeast Asia, ASEAN, have called for a “calibrated” draw-down of foreign troops from Iraq on the grounds that it would contribute to stability. Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, etc., as Asian nations with a history of resisting Western dominance, are sure that the US occupation of the country is a big part of the problem. US Secretary of State Condi Rice skipped the ASEAN security conference for the second year in a row, since she is heavily preoccupied with the Iraq crisis. Meanwhile, China is moving into the ASEAN economies.
Amid all the other health care crises in Iraq, there is the problem of large numbers of amputees because of the bombings, according to The Guardian. Even in Mosul, the large northern city that is by no means the most violent place in Iraq, there is a need for 3,000 replacement replacement limbs a year!
Police found 25 bodies in the streets on Monday, victims of sectarian death squads.
‘ BAGHDAD – A car bomb killed six people and wounded 31 in al-Tayaran Square in a mainly Shi’ite area of central Baghdad, police said.
FALLUJA – Three U.S. soldiers were killed in combat operations in western Anbar province on Thursday, the U.S. military said.
NEAR BALAD – A suicide fuel truck bomb targeting an Iraqi army and police checkpoint killed four people and wounded six near the town of Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, on Sunday, police said.
BALAD – A car bomb targeting a police patrol killed one policeman and wounded six others in Balad on Sunday, police said. . .
ISKANDARIYA – Three people were killed and two wounded in a fight between two Shi’ite and Sunni tribes on Sunday in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
At our group blog on global affairs, see Howard Eissenstat’s essay on the meaning of the victory of the AK Party in Turkey’s recent elections.