Iraq: parliament demands approval to extend occupation

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)

See our last posts on Iraq and the politics of withdrawal.