Thursday, December 06, 2007

No reconciliation in sight before end of year

It seems that Shia lawmakers cannot agree on allowing former members of the Baath party to return to their government jobs. I can undertand their fear if those former Baathists are responsible for crimes, but if they are not criminals, then what's the problem?

Iraq lawmakers end any hope of reconciliation in '07

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi legislators suspended parliamentary sessions for the rest of the month on Thursday because of an upcoming religious season. The decision spelled the end of much-delayed efforts to pass U.S.-backed legislation aimed at achieving national reconciliation this year.
The U.S. defense secretary, meanwhile, welcomed the news that violence in Iraq has declined 60% in the last six months but warned that "people are getting impatient" for the Iraqi government to take advantage of improved security and move toward needed political reforms.

The Sunni speaker of parliament announced the decision to suspend sessions after days of debate over a draft bill that would allow thousands of former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to return to their government jobs. The measure is among the 18 benchmarks set by the United States to encourage reconciliation.

Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said the legislative body would not hold another session until the end of December because many lawmakers would be traveling to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual Islamic pilgrimage, which climaxes later this month.

Others were expected to leave the capital to spend Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice, with their families elsewhere in Iraq or abroad. The holiday begins around Dec. 20.


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