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Iraq Parliament Passes 3 Reconciliation Laws

Behold the howls of outrage from the New York Times owned International Herald Tribune:

Iraqi lawmakers pass 3 broad laws

By Alissa J. Rubin

Thursday, February 14, 2008

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliamentary leaders on Wednesday pushed through three far-reaching measures that had been delayed for weeks by bitter political maneuvering that became so acrimonious that some lawmakers threatened to try to dissolve the legislative body.

More than any previous legislation, the new initiatives have the potential to spur reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites and set the country on the road to a more representative government, starting with new provincial elections.

The voting itself was a significant step forward for the Iraqi Parliament, where even basic quorums have been rare. In a classic legislative compromise, the three laws, each of which was a burning issue for at least one faction, were packaged together for a single vote to encourage agreement across sectarian lines.

“Today we have a wedding party for the Iraqi Parliament,” said Mahmoud al-Mashadani, the speaker, who is a Sunni. “We have proved that Iraqis are one bloc and Parliament is able to find solutions that represent all Iraqis.”

But the parliamentary success was clouded because many of the most contentious details were simply postponed, raising the possibility that the accord could again break into rancorous factional disputes in future debates on the same issues.

The three measures are the 2008 budget; a law outlining the scope of provincial powers, a crucial aspect of Iraq’s self-definition as a federal state; and an amnesty that would apply to thousands of the detainees held in Iraqi jails.

An amnesty law was one of the so-called benchmark measures that the Bush administration had built the 2007 troop increase around, hoping to create better security to allow such legislative breakthroughs…

The jubilation at the conclusion of the session and the atmosphere of amity contrasted sharply with the stinging accusations and walkouts that have characterized many of the negotiations in recent weeks.

Khalid al-Attiya, the deputy speaker and an independent Shiite, beamed as he told reporters right after the vote that the laws had passed “unanimously.”

“It is a big achievement,” he said, and promised that approval of the budget and spending associated with it would translate into as many as 700,000 new jobs for Iraqis…

Even factions that did not agree with some of the measures said they did not want to vote against the package as a whole.

“The Iraqiya list did not want to create a political crisis in a time when the country has suffered a lot, ” said Aliya Nesayef, a member of the Iraqiya Party, which agreed with the amnesty law but was uncomfortable with some provisions of the budget and the provincial powers law.

The decision to vote on the three laws together broke the logjam that had held up the legislation for months, despite pressure from the Bush administration and some senior Iraqi officials. Every group was able to boast that it had won, to some degree. After the laws are approved by the Presidency Council, in this case a pro forma step since all of the political blocs agreed to their passage, they will be published. The particulars of the laws remained unclear in part because many changes were made in the last frantic days.

The most serious controversy on Wednesday was over the inclusion of a date for holding provincial elections, which President George W. Bush has pushed for in the short term. Such elections would mean that two political parties, one Shiite and one Sunni, would stand to lose control of one or more provincial councils, so those groups have tried to defer the vote. But the majority of the Parliament supported setting a date, and Mashadani, the speaker, forced the inclusion of a deadline, Oct. 1, at the last minute.

The top American officials in Iraq, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus, issued a statement after the passage, congratulating the Parliament and describing the provincial powers law, in particular, as a “landmark law” in which “Iraqi legislators have reached an historic compromise.” …

Gee, it seems like only yesterday Speaker Nancy Pelosi was telling us what a failure the “surge” is because the Iraqi parliament has gotten nothing done.

Well, exactly what has Ms. Pelosi and her Democrat cohorts gotten done since obtaining power?

And she is not trying to bring about a new form of government in the midst of a war.

By the way, check out the title that the New York Times International Herald Tribune originally bestowed upon this article:


They just can’t help themselves.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, February 14th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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