Parliament Fiasco Mortar Shells Landed

Parliament Fiasco

Mortar shells landed in the green zone near parliament at one point during its meeting on Tuesday, emptying the room briefly of frantic reporters, according to al-Hayat. The wrangling over cabinet posts continued, with the petroleum ministry coveted by both Shiites and Kurds.

The United Iraqi Alliance rejected as candidate for speaker of the house a parliamentarian on Allawi’s Iraqiya list, Janabi, on the grounds that his brother had worked closely with Saddam. This blackballing of a politician for links to the old regime infuriated Iyad Allawi, who stalked out of the building. He was followed by the major Sunni politician in the talks, Ghazi al-Yawir. No speaker of the house was chosen.

There are behind the scenes maneuverings to dump Ibrahim Jaafari as prime minister. Ahmad Chalabi seems to be making another push to be prime minister himself, supported by the Kurds and by dissidents in the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance. If the religious Shiites are cheated of their proper role in government, now that they have over 50 percent of seats, there is danger of a popular revolt.

Part of the governing council in Kirkuk walked out of the meeting today in protest at the high-handed way the Kurdish majority was running it.

UPI is rightly anxious at the failure of Iraq’s politicians to form a government. The mood in the street is turning ugly. Quotes:

‘ Iraqi voters aren’t happy.They don’t care that some of the biggest political changes ever to happen in their lifetime are going on in their country. All they know is that the electricity still is off for hours every day, the water doesn’t always flow out of the faucets, there are still long gas queues at the stations, and the situation still seems pretty lawless in the streets. “We’re very disappointed,” said Hathem Hassan Thani, 31, a political science graduate student at Baghdad University.”Some personalities are trying to make the political operation fail, and they don’t want to give positions to the Sunni Muslims.”

and here is the really alarming one:

The Iraqi people are very itchy.The street is very nervous,” said Saad Jawar Qindeel, a spokesman for the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of two dominant religious-based parties that won the United Iraqi Alliance ticket.”There’s a lot of talk of people ready to protest.”

Despite all the talk of draw-downs and tipping points, the guerrillas are in fact inflicting substantial attrition on our Abrams tanks. The guerrillas in Afghanistan had their biggest successes against the Soviets when they learned out to take out the Soviet tanks, so this news is pretty scarey.

Likewise, that the Americans have had to double the number of arrestees in the Iraqi prisons in the past five months is another bad sign. (Prisoners are now 10,400). It looks as thought he guerrillas are growing in sophistication and are succeeding in recruiting increased numbers of Iraqis.

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