Emergency Session of Iraqi Parliament as Boycotting MPs Return

High Stakes Talks on Potential Hashemi Arrest, Future of Power-Sharing

by Jason Ditz, January 05, 2012

Iraq’s parliament held an “emergency session” today along with some high-stakes behind the scenes talks related to the crumbling power-sharing deal in the nation and the prime minister’s continued attempts to arrest Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi as a “terrorist.”

The details of the session were not made public, but were said to have included a formal apology from ruling party MP Hussein al-Assady to the Kurdistan Alliance for calling President Jalal Talabani a “terrorist.”

The biggest talks were between Prime Minister Maliki and members of the boycotting factions, including Kurdistan regional President Barzani and parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujeifi. Maliki said the talks with Nujeifi will have a “positive impact” on the political crisis.

The talks with Barzani were quite detailed, with the Kurdish President continuing to press for federalism, warning of an impending “catastrophe” if Maliki continued to centralize power. He did, however, insist he didn’t want to get between Maliki and the Sunni Arabs related to attempts to arrest Hashemi.

Maliki and Barzani are said to have agreed on the importance of separating politics and legal questions, though Maliki clearly does not believe (at least publicly) that his attempt to arrest key political rivals as terrorists as a conflict of interest.

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