Monday, June 11, 2007

Iraqi Parliament Ousts Speaker

By Cernig

The Washington Post reports that the Iraqi parliament has voted to oust its Speaker by a vote of 113 to 55, with 107 members absent, because...well...because he's a bullying nutter who gets his bodyguards to intimidate and beat up other MPs.
Some expected the selection process for his successor would take between one to two weeks. There was speculation Monday that the replacement will not come from Mashhadani's small Dialogue Front party, but rather from the more prominent Iraqi Islamic Party, which also is a member of the Tawafuq coalition of Sunni legislators.

"This behavior that Mashhadani did, he's done it many times before," said the adviser to Attiyah, the interim speaker. "So the parliament members believed they should push him to resign."
The Iraqi Islamic Party is the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and is currently headed by Iraq's Sunni vice- president Tariq al-Hashemi. His party's platform at the last elections included:
"Liberation from occupation" and a timetable for the withdrawal of the Multinational force in Iraq
Enhancing national unity
Considering Saddam a national hero
Opposing federalism in Iraq, except for Iraqi Kurdistan
Promoting Islamic values and principles and Islam as a source of legislation
Opposing de-Baathification
A "fair and objective" view of the Iraqi insurgency
Good relations with Saudi Arabia
Opposition to diplomatic relations with Israel
Al-Hashemi himself had until recently been cozy with the Bush administration faction that wants to replace Maliki with a more secular Prime Minister (Allawi was the favorite until he got too close to Sadr) and wrote an op-ed for the WaPo in January asking the US not to withdraw precipitously from Iraq.

However, just a few days ago al-Hashemi and his party followed Allawi into attempts to form a new national salvation front which would create a cross-sectarian nationalist grouping which could well involve Sadr and the the nationalist Shi'ite party, Al-Fadilah. Having the parliament's speaker belonging to such a coalition would greatly strengthen its hand and further reinforce the separatist vs. nationalist current in Iraqi politics.

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