Monday, March 26, 2007

Iraq may allow Baathists to return

Hopefully this will lead to peace.

Iraqis may allow Baathists to return

By STEVEN R. HURST and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers

Iraq's prime minister and president will introduce a bill in parliament as early as Tuesday that allows former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to return to government jobs and join the military, two Iraqi officials said.

The measure — long demanded by the U.S. to appease Sunnis — provides for a three-month challenge period after which Saddam's ex-followers — including those who worked in the feared security apparatus and paramilitary forces — would be immune.

The measure goes to parliament under the names of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd. Shiites and Kurds make up nearly 80 percent of Iraq's population and both were severely repressed by Saddam's largely Sunni regime.

"We present the draft law of Accountability and Justice to parliament to build an Iraq that is accessible to all Iraqis determined to build a new, democratic Iraq that is far from sectarianism, racism, tyranny, discrimination, exclusion and disenfranchisement," al-Maliki and Talabani said in a joint statement released late Monday.

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