Well, So Much For That Unity Government In Iraq
BAGHDAD — Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the first session of the Iraqi Parliament on Tuesday, imperiling efforts to form a new government in the face of a bitter offensive by Sunni militants.
After the new Parliament took a short recess after less than an hour of debate, Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers did not return. There were not enough lawmakers present for a quorum, forcing the session to be adjourned for at least a week.
Spokesmen for the party of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki blamed Kurds and Sunnis for the impasse, provoking countercharges that Shiite leaders were not ready to make a serious deal. The day’s events also ended hopes of an early resolution to Iraq’s political crisis, even as insurgents mount a violent challenge north and west of the capital.
The walkout represented a rejection of calls by Shiite religious leaders who had demanded agreement on the speedy formation of a government that included Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites.
Underscoring the threat from the militants, the United Nations announced that June had been the deadliest month in Iraq for many years.
The violent death toll in Iraq, except Anbar Province, during June was 2,417 people. By far the largest category of fatalities was civilians, with more than 1,500 dead, followed by 886 members of Iraq’s beleaguered security forces, according to United Nations statistics.
The fatalities were four times higher than in May, before the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria began its offensive to take Mosul and much of northern Iraq on June 10.
The death toll was one of the highest monthly figures for Iraq, reaching a level of violence not seen there since 2008, according to the United Nations. In May, according to the data, 799 people were killed in Iraq, including 240 members of the security forces. The figures do not take into account Anbar Province, much of which has been under the control of ISIS-led insurgents and where the United Nations has no presence. The United Nations cited Health Ministry officials in Anbar as recording 244 civilians killed and 588 injured from June 1-29, bringing the total violent death toll for the country in June to at least 2,661.
At this point, one can only think that things will get worse, especially if Iraqis are unable to form a government that at least makes an effort to solve some of the sectarian problems that have fueled the current crisis. In that case, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider that partition idea that Joe Biden had about six or seven years ago.