This is, I will freely admit, good news from Iraq.
The Iraqi parliament's newly formed women's caucus will pressurise the government to roll out concrete policies to help victims of the war in Iraq, including widows and orphans, war victims' families and Iraqi refugees, Ala Tahsin Habib, a deputy for the Kurdish Alliance in the Iraqi parliament, told Adnkronos International (AKI).The members of the new caucus will still keep their old party groupings, but will work together - on a path determined by majority vote of the caucus for each issue - on swaying their own parties to the caucus' way of thinking.
"By creating a women's parliamentary group in Iraq, we want the government to implement a series of stalled projects and to find solutions to the problems afflicting Iraqi society," she said.
Speaker of the 275 seat parliament Mahmud al-Mashadani announced on Sunday the creation a cross-party womens' grouping made up of 73 female deputies.
The new women's parliamentary grouping "can play a prominent role trying to bring together disparate viewpoints held by the different political parties that MPs belong to," said female Shiite deputy Samira al-Musawi.Now if only their male companions can do likewise.
The creation of the womens' caucus "does not mean the MPs have abandoned their original parliamentary political groupings," she stressed.
"It has not yet been decided how the women's bloc will be led and run, but it has been decided to adopt majority voting," she said.
Female MPs have also reached an accord on "general principles," such as the rejection of violence and the support for national reconciliation efforts. They have also agreed to press the government to issue stalled legislation, especially that which promotes womens' rights in parliament," according to al-Musawi.
"All the parliamentary groupings back the women's caucus and say it can help bring them closer together," she concluded.
However, since the women's caucus will be pushing for humanitarian ideals and practises, I think their policies will find them in conflict with the Bush administration and the U.S. forces in occupation over several issues - not least being airstrikes, asylum shortcomings for refugees and the U.S. policy of turning a blind eye to sectraian cleansing as long as it reduces violence in the short term.