News Release

Bush in Amman: Dividing Iraqis? Undermining Iraqi Democracy?

JAMES PETRAS
Professor emeritus at Binghamton University, Petras said today: “Bush seems intent on having al-Maliki form a coalition with different ethnic groups to divide the resistance and urging al-Maliki to actually increase the level of government violence. This would basically preserve the status quo — there are no new initiatives here. If anything, this is calculated to undermine any initiatives that might defuse the situation, whether they come from a country like Syria or from the Baker commission.” Petras is author of numerous books about world affairs including Empire or Republic? American Global Power and Domestic Decay and most recently The Power of Israel in the United States.
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KASRA MOFARAH
Based in Amman, Mofarah is with the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq.
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KATHY KELLY
Kelly will be going to Amman on Dec. 4; earlier this year she spent two months there, largely meeting with displaced Iraqis. A founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly is the author of “Other Lands Have Dreams” and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She notes that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan just called for an international conference on Iraq. Many of Kelly’s writing are at the web page below.
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RAED JARRAR
Jarrar is Iraq Project director for Global Exchange. He met with Iraqi parliament members in Amman this August and has been in contact with them regularly. Jarrar said today: “In many respects, the divisions in Iraq are not religious, but political.

“The UN Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to extend the mandate of the occupation force in Iraq. The council acted very quickly in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The U.S. and the U.K. rushed the vote through very early and only one day after consultations were held. The matter was not inscribed in the program of the council for this month, and many expected the vote to be held in early December.

“The Iraqi parliament was not informed about this [request] by al-Maliki. I talked to four Iraqi MPs today: a Sunni, a Shia, and two seculars, and all of them were totally shocked that al-Maliki bypassed the Iraqi parliament. The parliament, according to Dr. Jabir Habib (an Iraqi Shia MP close to the al-Sadr group), was supposed to vote on this in ten days. He said: ‘We spent the last months discussing the conditions we wanted to add to the mandate, and the majority of the parliament reached three major conditions.’

“Mr. Hasan al-Shammari (a Shia MP representing al-Fadila party) said: ‘We had a closed session two days ago and we were supposed to vote on the mandate after ten days. I can’t believe the mandate just passed without our knowledge.’ Dr. Hajim al-Hassani (a Sunni secular MP and the former speaker of the parliament) didn’t even know that the mandate passed yesterday: ‘If this was true, it is breaking the agreements we had with al-Maliki.’ Mr. al-Hassani added: ‘We were supposed to have a meeting with al-Maliki and other top officials in the parliament during the next couple of weeks to decide what to do with the mandate.’ Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq (a secular MP) said: ‘This is totally unexpected, it is another example of how the prime minister is not taking the parliament seriously.’

“According to most of the MPs who I talked to, it is unconstitutional to have the prime minister renewing the mandate without consulting the Iraqi parliament.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167