Political Crisis Continues; 34 Killed in Iraq

After a chaotic session in Parliament, Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on lawmakers to resign and given them three days to vote on a new, independent Cabinet or face renewed protests. Parliament has so far resisted attempts to replace the current Cabinet with a crew of professionals selected by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Demonstrators have begun gathering on the streets.

The idea of the “technocrats” is to temper widespread corruption. Voting for the Cabinet was to have already taken place; however, powerful blocs have tried to select their own nominees. This has led to fistfights and attempted dismissal of the speaker, Salim al-Jabouri.

Jabouri canceled Saturday’s session after lawmakers again failed to make a quorum and remove him from office. Iran is carefully watching what occurs next as it could hamper its power base in Baghdad.

In other news:
The U.S. military is considering upgrading its campaign against the Islamic State militants in Iraq. The options may include increased training and helicopters.

Hundreds of civilians have fled fighting in the Makhmour region in the last few weeks, but when the fighting moves on into Mosul itself, hundreds of thousands of residents may be forced to seek refuge elsewhere, draining services.

At least 34 were killed and 17 were wounded:

A double bombing in Tarmiya left two security members dead and four wounded.

In Baghdad, militants shot and wounded two soldiers. A bomb killed two people and wounded eight more at a market.

Gunmen killed an imam in Kirkuk.

In Mosul, security forces killed one militant and wounded three more. Two militants were killed in an airstrike.

Airstrikes left 16 militants dead in Hit.

Ten militants were killed in Mashtal and Khawda.

An airstrike on Albu Ali al-Jassim left 20 militants dead or injured.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.