Shahristani Denounces Ex Baath Sunnis

Shahristani Denounces ex-Baath Sunnis in Parliament

Child malnutrition has soared in Iraq under the Americans, according to a former Official.

Al-Zaman: Hussein Shahristani, a prominent member of the United Iraqi Alliance, affirmed that his bloc in parliament would work to prevent any former members of the Baath Party from filling positions in the new government. He said that former Baaathists and former members of parliament under Saddam Hussein have gotten into the new parliament via the list of Iyad Allawi, and that they are striving to disrupt the political process and find a way to grab the post of speaker of parliament. He added, “If the candidate is not accepted, the UIA will impose a candidate for speaker.” He added, “The candidate must be an elected member of the parliament” and “the number of members [from the Sunni Arab minority] is small. They are either former Baathists or former members of the parliaments formed under the shadow of Saddam’s regime.” He affirmed, “We are not appointing persons at this stage, but all of them are on the Iraqiya list. There are a number of Baathists on that list, which is unacceptable to the UIA.”

The Iraqiya list of Iyad Allawi has nominated Adnan Janabi for the speaker post, but he was rejected by the Shiite religious parties because of his family’s Baath Party connections. Allawi walked out of the parliament meeting on Tuesday as a result. I think he suddenly realized that his project of rehabilitating selected former Baathists as promoters of secularism was in big trouble. The UIA has some 53 percent of the seats in parliament and Shahristani is now making it clear that the Shiite religious parties are simply not going to accept ex-Baathists in high posts.

Mishaan Juburi, another Sunni in parliament, has now put himself forward for the speaker post, accornding to Ash-Sharq al-Awsat.

I may be over-reacting, but there seems to me a threat implicit in Shahristani’s statement that some of the Baathists on Allawi’s list might be denied their seats on parliament. If that was his implication, things could get very ugly.

The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said Wednesday that Iraq in its current condition “cannot constitute a model for any Arab country” in the field of democracy. He criticized the current negotiations for the formation of a new Iraqi government on the basis of sect and ethnicity.

Guerrillas are still attempting to discrupt the Shiite religious pilgrimage by shooting down the pilgrims in Babil province south of Baghdad.

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