Iraqi legislators passed a resolution June 5 requiring the government to seek parliamentary approval before asking the UN to extend the mandate for US-led forces in Iraq. The Sadrist-drafted resolution passed by a vote of 85 to 59. The members of parliament voted along party lines, with Sunnis joining the bloc loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr and other Shi’ite legislators at odds with the leadership. Supporters of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki opposed the resolution.
The UN mandate for foreign forces in Iraq had already been extended until Dec. 31 at al-Maliki’s request, so the parliamentary action is not expected to have any immediate effect. However, Sunni parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said: “If the government wants to extend the presence of the multinational forces, it has to come to us in the parliament to convince us first.” (AlJazeera, June 6)