Parliament adjourns without any appointments made
The first meeting of the new Iraqi parliament collapsed yesterday without the appointment of a Speaker, President or Prime Minister.
Parliament was due to elect all three posts in order, starting with the Speaker. Under a power sharing system the Speaker comes from the Sunni community, the President from the Kurds and the Prime Minister from the majority Shi’ite community.
Sunnis and Kurds refused to nominate their respective candidates until the Shia National Alliance, of which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law party is a member, announced its Prime Ministerial candidate. Neither minority communities want al-Maliki and when the session adjourned for a recess the Sunni and Kurd deputies refused to return.
Parliament was adjourned until next week.
The Americans have made it clear that they want to see a national unity government formed, something that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has refused to do. Even Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric, called for all parties to nominate their candidates before parliament met and then to seek a national unity government.
The sticking point remains al-Maliki. If he remains then the Sunni and Kurd lawmakers will not cooperate with the government, but so far he has refused to go and his party is the largest party in parliament.
In other developments, the Russians have delivered ten Sukhoi SU-25 fighter jets which apparently went into action against ISIL positions yesterday. Iran has also sent in elite troops to help with the fight against IS and other Sunni breakaway groups.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) has renamed itself the Islamic State (IS) and declared a new Caliphate with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph. Baghdadi has sworn to create a caliphate covering everything from the eastern Mediterranean to the Gulf and across North Africa.
Battles continue in the north with Tikrit proving difficult for government troops to take. Clashes also took place near Fallujah and Mashada with bombing strikes on IS forces around Mosul.