Parliament To Take Up Shiite Federal

Parliament to take up Shiite Federal Region
US Backs off Criticism of Barzani

On Wednesday morning a car bomb in the Qahira district of Baghdad killed 8 and wounded 38.

Civil war violence killed some 25 on Tuesday, including 3 US GIs.

The US embassy in Iraq began by appearing to condemn the decree issued by Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani that the Iraqi national flag not be flown in Iraqi Kurdistan. But then in its second communique on the subject on Tuesday, it said

‘ “Decisions on Iraq’s national symbols must be made by the Iraqi people as a whole through an established constitutional process,” adding that Washington was committed to “Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity”.

In the revised statement, the embassy did not give any explanation for deleting parts of the original statement. ‘

The Iraqi parliament opened its fall session. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Shiite leader, is pushing for recognition of a 9-province regional confederacy or super-province for the Shiites of the south. I figure at most he has 63 Shiite votes for it and probably can depend on 58 Kurdish MPs. That is 121, and you need 138 for a simple majority. The idea is strongly opposed by the Sunni Arabs, by the movement of Muqtada al-Sadr, and by the Da’wa Party. The latter two are part of the United Iraqi Alliance, as is al-Hakim’s SCIRI, but they disgree vehemently on this issue.

Since 98 parliamentarians were missing today, however, and absenteeism is a big problem, it is hard to predict the outcome of such a vote on any particular day.

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