Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Iraq delays formation of new government
First Published Jul 07 2014 07:31 pm • Last Updated Jul 07 2014 08:36 pm

Baghdad • Iraq’s parliament stalled Monday for a second time, canceling its planned Tuesday session to give the country’s deeply divided political factions time to reach an agreement on an urgently needed new government.

The delay further imperils Baghdad’s ability to keep this oil-rich country intact a month after al-Qaida-inspired militants seized much of Iraq’s north and west, spurring the partial collapse of the nation’s armed forces.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The militants, who call themselves the Islamic State, have declared an Islamic caliphate in that territory and have vowed to press on toward Baghdad.

Amid the chaos, Iraq’s Kurdish minority has threatened to hold a referendum on independence for its own largely autonomous region in the north.

On Monday, the parliament said it would delay its next session until Aug. 12, "given the circumstances facing the country."

After an uproar, the acting speaker said later that the lawmakers are likely to meet sooner - on Sunday - but that an official announcement of that change would not come until Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.

Growing opposition to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who Sunni Arabs and Kurds say has marginalized them in favor of sectarian policies, has forced a deadlock over the selection of a new leadership.

Iraq’s constitution stipulates that the prime minister be a Shiite, the president a Kurd and the speaker of parliament a Sunni.

But because the prime minister is nominated last, Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers, as well as some of al-Maliki’s Shiite rivals, have said that he must step aside before the other two posts can be determined. Al-Maliki commands the largest bloc in parliament and said over the weekend that he will seek a third term.

The first session of the new parliament, on July 1, ended in a walkout by Sunni Arab and Kurdish lawmakers. Politicians and analysts said the cancellation of the second session was a sign that the process could drag on for months, despite the looming threat of the nation’s total collapse.


story continues below
story continues below

"The delay exemplifies what ordinary Iraqis think of their government: weak, dysfunctional, self-serving and, above all, irrelevant," said Zaineb al-Assam, a senior analyst at IHS Country Risk.

While the politicians bicker, the chances of Baghdad reclaiming the land seized by the Islamic State and its diverse cohort of local allies - all disenfranchised by the al-Maliki government - is shrinking, analysts say.

However, the formation of a government alone will not present an immediate solution to Iraq’s devastating divisions, according to minority politicians, foreign diplomats and political analysts.

The government will have to restructure the armed forces in a way that empowers Sunnis and work to heal sectarian rifts before it can hope to recapture lost territory, they say.

The threat of sectarian war is also widening. Responding to a call to action by Iraq’s top Shiite cleric last month, Shiite militia fighters have rallied to combat the Sunni militant threat, spurring increasingly sectarian rhetoric and attacks.

A suicide car bombing near a checkpoint in Baghdad’s predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiyah on Monday killed at least four people, according to local media and residents.

Earlier in the day, the commander of the Iraqi army’s 6th Division was killed in mortar fire west of Baghdad, near the embattled town of Fallujah, dealing another blow to the crippled force.

Fallujah fell to Sunni militants more than six months ago. Government security forces have been unable to reclaim the city.

- - -

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.