by Michael Illions | July 31, 2007 3:35 pm
In what amounts to giving the US the finger, Iraqi’s Parliment decided to take a summer vacation and head to the Jersey shore, and will return in September:
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s parliament on Monday shrugged off U.S. criticism and adjourned for a month, as key lawmakers declared there was no point waiting any longer for the prime minister to deliver Washington-demanded benchmark legislation for their vote.
Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani closed the final three-hour session without a quorum present and declared lawmakers would not reconvene until Sept. 4. That date is just 11 days before the top U.S. military and political officials in Iraq must report to Congress on American progress in taming violence and organizing conditions for sectarian reconciliation.
US critical of taking off:
Critics have questioned how Iraqi legislators could take a summer break while U.S. forces are fighting and dying to create conditions under which important laws could be passed in the service of ending sectarian political divisions and bloodshed.
But in leaving parliament, many lawmakers blamed al-Maliki.
“Even if we sit next month, there’s no guarantee that important business will be done,” said Mahmoud Othman, a prominent Kurdish legislator. The parliament had already extended its session by a month, having initially planned a recess for July and August.
Will al-Maliki even be in charge by the time they come back:
Meanwhile, al-Maliki faces a revolt within his party by factions that want him out as Iraqi leader, according to officials in his office and the political party he leads.
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, al-Maliki’s predecessor, leads the challenge and already has approached leaders of the country’s two main Kurdish parties, parliament’s two Sunni Arab blocs and lawmakers loyal to powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Jaafari’s campaign, the officials said, was based on his concerns that al-Maliki’s policies had led Iraq into turmoil because the prime minister was doing too little to promote national reconciliation.
The timing is just awful on this and they come back right around the time the report is due on how the “surge” is progressing.
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