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Rudaw

Iraq

Kurds, Sunnis Walk Out of Iraq’s First Parliament Session

By RUDAW 1/7/2014
The Parliament had convened as pressure mounted on the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down amid a crisis that has seen jihadi-led insurgents capture much of northern Iraq. Photo: AP
The Parliament had convened as pressure mounted on the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down amid a crisis that has seen jihadi-led insurgents capture much of northern Iraq. Photo: AP

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the Iraqi Parliament’s first session on Tuesday, jeopardizing efforts at putting together a unity government to confront a jihadi-led offensive that threatens to rip Iraq apart.

The Parliament had convened as pressure mounted on the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down amid a crisis that has seen jihadi-led insurgents capture much of northern Iraq.

The legislators had convened for the first time since April 30 elections in which Maliki and his State of Law coalition won many votes, and as the country struggles to deal with Sunni insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who have captured entire cities over the past three weeks and vow to march on Baghdad.

Meanwhile the United Nations said that the death toll for June, in all of Iraq except Anbar province which is the country’s largest and entirely in the hands of the insurgents, was 2,417 people, three times more than 799 killed in May, before the insurgents began their advance. Most of those killed in June – 1,500 – were civilians.

The government declared a national holiday as the parliament convened in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone, with many shops and businesses in the capital remaining closed and security forces out in large numbers, manning checkpoints and on patrol.

The United States and Britain have both urged Maliki to quickly establish a unity government with robust roles for the Kurds and Sunnis, both large minorities who want Maliki to step down. The beleaguered prime minister has stubbornly rejected forming a salvation government, and has ruled out stepping down.

Although the walkout was not anticipated, the lead-up to the opening of parliament had not been propitious.

On Monday, the leaders of the Shiite National Alliance, which includes Maliki, failed to agree on a candidate for the premiership, while vowing to actively participate in the first parliament session.

The same day, Iraq’s former prime minister Ayad Allawi, who heads the Watanya Sunni bloc, called on members and other Sunni leaders to boycott the vote on electing a new prime minister and inclusive government.

Meanwhile MPs from the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq expressed mixed feelings about their safety in Baghdad. Maliki has accused the Kurds of instigating the current turmoil, and some Shiite militias have been venting their anger at the Kurds, who have denied having to do anything with the trouble.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has vehemently opposed another term for Maliki, indicating it may pull out of the political process – or break out for independence – unless the premier steps down and a unity government takes his place.

Kurdish MPs in the Iraqi parliament say they do not trust the security situation in Baghdad and believe the Green Zone is no longer as safe as before.

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Hiwa | 1/7/2014
Googbye Iraq forever it is time for Kurdistan State!
Hersh | 1/7/2014
No mention of the fight that broke out between Kurdish and Shia MP's? one female Kurdish MP simply asked the Malaki regime to kindly release Kurdistan's share of the budget that has been illegally withheld for more than 6 month, she just briefly explained that we have government employees that haven't been payed for over 6 month and we have taken in almost a million refugees from other parts of Iraq, and all hell broke loose!, as Malaki's dogs started to yell insults against all Kurds and the leadership with a roar of applause from the Arab MP's!. They of course accused Kurds of being behind ISIL etc. no one asked them ISIL came to the scene only a month go, you dirty liars started to illegally hold back Kurdistan's budget 6 month ago! even long before Kurds started to export oil independently! did Kurds make the coward Iraqi army (Shia militia) desert? did Kurds suppress and abuse the Sunnis?. Lying dirty animals that always blame their failures on others, yet some Kurds complain that we should rather stay with these animals than be 'too economically dependent on Turkey', how many times are Kurds going to try to engage them in an civilized way? this is the result each time! the hell with Iraq! let it burn! Arabs are incapable of change! declare independence NOW!!
Muraz Adzhoev | 1/7/2014
The federal parliament yet remains to be the only and almost legitimate unit of the state power in actualy pseudo country. That is why the establishing parties of the failed federation have to conduct the last parliamentary session to declare the final and peacefull separation of Iraq into two different or single Shia and Sunni Arab states and fully independent sovereign South Kurdistan. All parties of the former federative state of Iraq could express their common goodwill intention to discuss in some future years reasonable terms and condition to agree on establishment of a confederative union of their independent neighbor states. This is all that shell be done today. Matters on government formation and federal statehood are no more in the political agenda as far as the former Iraq is collapsed for ever. New realities require new decisions, actions. and measures.
Jack | 1/7/2014
What a bunch of children.
Ser ba xo | 1/7/2014
Kurds really need to make an important decision at this point in time. There is no use trying to form a government in Iraq. This our only chance to go it alone and form an autonomous Kurdistan in North Iraq, like many country's such as North Korea...etc. We need to protect ourselves and equip ourselves from any further conflicts. There may not be another chance....now is a good time to break off from Iraq.
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