The Daily Star summarizes reports coming out of Iraq that the Speaker of the House is threatening to dissolve parliament. Iraq’s legislature has been deadlocked for months over the budget and also setting a date for badly needed provincial elections. It is likely a hollow threat, but the Iraqi constitution does state, “The Council of Representatives may be dissolved by a one-third vote of the Council or on requests of both the Prime Minister and the President.” Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani says he has those votes.
The passage of the budget has been held up by demands of the Kurds that the Kurdistan Regional Authority receive 17% of national income, which many Arab MPs think is excessive. The proportion is based on Kurdish estimates of their proportion of the Iraqi population, estimates that are disputed. Some say they are willing to compromise on 14.5 % for the Kurds. Arab delegates also resent Kurdish demands that they pay for the Peshmerga security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Authority, which rejects federal troops ever setting foot on its soil.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the latest crisis was provoked on Tuesday when the Sadrists, the Islamic Virtue Party (Fadhila) MPs, and independents walked out of the budget negotiations late in the day. A compromise had been reached on the Kurds, awarding them 17% this year but providing for a proper nation-wide census in 2008 (fat chance). A resolution had also been hammered out on the issue of releasing some of the some 60,000 Iraqis in prison, whether in Iraqi or American custody. The resolution asked that the American captives be moved to Iraqi jurisdiction.
Sam Dagher of CSM casts a critical eye over the Awakening Councils, the Sunni tribal levies paid by the US to fight the Salafi Jihadis. He finds that past successes are running up against limitations, including the strike in Diyala and a worrisome tendency toward internal rivalries, not to mention that many have been assassinated by the Salafi Jihadis.
McClatchy asks if the lull in violence in Iraq last November was a fluke, and whether it is now ending . . .
– Around 7:30 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at the Mission Complex at Karrada neighborhood (east Baghdad) .One policeman was injured.
– Around 8:30 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at the Canal Street near New Baghdad neighborhood (east Baghdad). No casualties reported.
– Around 8:45 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol near the marketing of oil products headquarter at Baladiyat neighborhood (east Baghdad). No casualties reported.
– Around noon, four mortars hit Doura neighborhood at Kafa’at district .Two people were killed and 8 injured.
– Police found the Journalist Husham Mijoud , who was kidnapped two days ago , dead at Bab Al-Sheikh ( north east Baghdad) in Risafa bank.
– Police found 3 unidentified dead bodies in Baghdad: Two were found in Risafa bank; one was found in Binouk neighborhood and one was found in Zayuna .While the third one was found in Yarmouk neighborhood in Karkh bank.
– The criminal directorate arrested Mr.Mohammad Al-Safi and five Sadrists members at Shoala neighborhood ( north west Baghdad) who are accused of kidnapping a girl and raped her, police said.
– In the early morning, the American forces found a mass grave of 13 remains of dead people (three of them were without heads) at one of the orchards in Blour village which is a part of Muqdadiya(about 55 km north east of Baquba, police said. From his side Dr.Ahmed Foad , the director of Baquba morgue , said that those dead bodies had got torture and had been transferred to the morgue. The U.S. military said in an email that they were not involved and the reports “appeared to be false.”
– Around 9 a.m., a girl of nine years old was killed by a roadside bomb at Al-Abara area (10 km south of Baquba)
– Around noon, gunmen attacked a Kia mini bus which were carrying students passengers on the midway between Kinaan and Balad Ruz (south east Baquba). Three students (two girls and one boy) were killed and three injured (two boys and the driver).
– In the afternoon, clashes took place between police and gunmen at Sheikh Hamad at the left bank of Shurqat (south of Mosul). One policeman was killed in addition to 7 gunmen.
– Around 9 a.m., gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in Mihjran area ( 5 km south of Basra ) .One policeman was killed and two injured.
– Around 10 a.m., gunmen killed a policeman while he was riding his motor bike at Ibn Al-Jawzi area ( 2 km south of Basra).’