This morning’s surprising resignation of Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani (the second time in a week) meant a return to business as usual for the turmoil-ridden Iraqi parliament, and in short order parliament pressed through a parliamentary resolution allowing non-US forces to remain in Iraq through July.
The resolution as reported earlier this week is functionally identical to a draft law which was rejected by parliament during last week’s chaos. By changing it to a “parliamentary resolution” the government was able to circumvent the need for a two-thirds majority vote.
Without the resolution, non-US international forces would have no legal basis to remain in the country past next Wednesday, when the United Nations Mandate is to expire. The vast majority of these forces, around 4,000, are British. The remainder are the remnants of forces from Australia and other countries still in the process of leaving.
When speaker Mashhadani suspended parliament yesterday, there was great concern that the resolution would not see a vote until after the new year. This would leave the foreign forces confined to base until either the Iraqi government completed the resolution of their countries made arrangementsfor their departure.