Monday, August 4, 2008

Missed Deadlines

Last week saw two important deadlines pass with no deals made. First, July 31 was the day set by the White House for when it wanted security and diplomatic agreements signed with Iraq. Despite several reports that the two sides were coming closer, the 31st passed with little fanfare. The U.S. and Iraq are still working on the details over Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s call for a timetable for the withdrawal of American combat troops. Second, Sunday August 3 a special session of parliament was suppose to be held to vote on the controversial provincial elections law, which is being held up over different opinions about how to deal with Kirkuk. The vote didn’t happen, and now there is talk that another one is scheduled for Tuesday, August 5. There still appears to be no agreement between the different parties on how to deal with the disputed region, this despite pressure from U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and President Bush. A sign that no deal is imminent might be seen in the fact that President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, left Iraq for a medical appointment in the United States, and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the leader of the Sunni Islamic Party, is in Turkey after having surgery. They, along with Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi of the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, are part of the Presidential Council that any bill must pass through to go into affect. When the original election law was passed by parliament in July, it was President Talabani and Vice President Mahdi that vetoed it, sending it back to the legislature where it now stands. Any delay will only aid the parties that are currently in power as they face challenges from a large number of newly established groups that will run in the elections. No breakthroughs appear imminent in either set of negotiations.

SOURCES

Fadel, Leila, and Issa, Sahar, “Battle over oil-rich city threatens to derail Iraqi elections,” McClatchy Newspapers, 8/3/08

Missing Links Blog, “Monday news roundup,” 8/4/08

Parker, Ned and Ahmed, Caesar, “Iraq lawmakers again fail to approve election law,” Los Angeles Times, 8/4/08

Raghavan, Sudarsan and Mizher, Qais, “Elections Bill in Iraq Stalls On Kirkuk,” Washington Post, 8/4/08

Robertson, Campbell and Al-Salhy, Suadad, “Iraqis fail to Agree on Provincial Elecitons,” New York Times, 8/4/08

Rubin, Alissa and Myers, Steven Lee, “Deal on a Security Agreement Is Close, Iraqis Say,” New York Times, 7/31/08

Voices of Iraq, “MP rules out voting over elections law on Tuesday,” 8/4/08

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