Two Deadlocked Parliaments
The Democratic senators held an all night session Tuesday night, to underline that they are unable to get through their plan on an Iraq withdrawal plan because of Republican threats of filibuster. Despite what some commentators are saying, the Democrats (unlike the Republicans when they had a majority) are not trying to get rid of the consensus rule in the Senate, whereby you need at least 60 votes for important issues. They are simply insisting that Republicans who reject withdrawal stand and be counted. The rest is up to the American people in 2008.
If the US parliament (i.e. Congress) is deadlocked over how to go forward, so is the Iraqi. Azhar al-Samarra`i, a member of parliament from the [Sunni fundamentalist] Iraqi Accord Front, told the Sawt al-Iraq wire service Wednesday that her coalition will only enter a new political bloc in parliament if it is given constitutional changes up front. The US behind the scenes has been urging the formation of a “Moderate Bloc” in parliament that would support Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and free him of dependence on the Sadr Bloc. He needs 138 for a simple majority and to avoid a vote of no confidence. The Moderates so far include the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the Da`wa Party [both Shiite fundamentalist] and the Kurdistan Alliance. These three want the Iraqi Accord Front to join, thus grouping Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis willing to cooperate with the Americans [apparently the meaning of “moderate.”] The Iraqi Accord Front, however, has not only not rushed to embrace the new alliance, but has threatened to call a vote of no confidence on al-Maliki itself. The Sunni Arab members of parliament generally feel betrayed that they entered the political process in December 2005 on promises that they would have the opportunity to revise the constitution (which they largely rejected). But no such opportunity seems forthcoming. Among their major objections is to the provision of the constitution allowing for the formation of new regional confederacies (i.e. a Shiite one in addition to the present Kurdish one.) The main proponent of this plan is the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, so that getting a stable alliance between it and the Sunni Arabs strikes me as a stretch.
One of the bills before parliament that the Moderates would like to pass is the petroleum bill. But 100 technocrats have written the Iraqi parliament objecting to provisions of the current draft and urging caution rather than haste.
McClatchy reports that 24 bodies were found in Baghdad on Tuesday. Also, ” 20 people including 4 soldiers were killed and 20 people wounded including two Iraqi soldiers in a parked car explosion targeted an Iraqi army patrol in Zayuna neighborhood east Baghdad around 2,00 pm.”
Reuters reports civil war violence in Iraq on Tuesday. Major incidents:
`BAGHDAD – At least four people were killed and five others wounded by a car bomb inside a parking lot near the Iranian Embassy in central Baghdad, police said. . . .
BAGHDAD – Three people were killed and five wounded in a drive-by shooting as people queued for petrol in the central Baghdad district of Mansour, police said. . .
SUWAYRA – Police recovered five bodies from Tigris river in the town of Suwayra, south of Baghdad, police said. . . .
JURF AL-SAKHIR – Five people were killed in clashes between suspected al Qaeda militants and Islamic Army insurgents linked with former Saddam Hussein loyalists near Jurf al-Sakhar, 85 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. `