Iraqi parties preparing a bid to oust controversial Sunni parliament speaker

Iraqi parties preparing a bid to oust controversial Sunni parliament speaker
August 13th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Iraqi parties preparing a bid to oust controversial Sunni parliament speaker

Iraqi parties preparing a bid to oust controversial Sunni parliament speaker
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 13 August 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq_Shiite and Kurdish parties are organizing a bid to oust the
Sunni speaker of parliament, whose comments about the insurgency and
regional self-rule have angered and embarrassed key political groups,
politicians said Sunday.

The ouster of Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, which could be done by a new vote in
parliament, would be the first major shakeup in the government of national
unity, which took office last May.

However, it is likely that al-Mashhadani would be replaced by another Sunni
Arab if the move against him succeeds.

One member of al-Mashhadani's own Iraqi Accordance Front indicated the Sunni
bloc would not strongly resist if its partners insisted on a change, which
could come when parliament returns from its summer recess Sept. 1.

Shiite and Kurdish parties have already informed the Accordance Front that
they want him replaced, Kurdish politician Mahmoud Othman said.

"The parliament and the major alliances have the right to request a change,"
Othman said. "The Accordance Front should nominate someone else. There's
been an agreement about that."

Key politicians from the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance confirmed Othman's
comments. But they spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want
the move to be seen as Shiite-inspired. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a
member of the Shiite alliance.

Since taking office May 20, al-Mashhadani has made a number of statements
which offended key constituencies. He has spoken out against regional
self-rule, strongly supported by Shiites and Kurds but opposed by many Sunni

Last month, al-Mashhadani told reporters that if the government refused to
grant amnesty to Sunni insurgents who killed Americans "we should punish the
American soldiers who killed an Iraqi who fought against occupation."

"In my point of view, the person who killed Americans in defense of his
country, in other countries, they would build a statue for him,"
al-Mashhadani added.

He also told reporters that "the Jews" were financing acts of violence in
Iraq in order to discredit Islamic religious parties that control parliament
and the government.

"Some people say, `We saw you beheading, kidnappings and killing. In the end
we even started kidnapping women who are our honor,'" al-Mashhadani said.
"These acts are not the work of Iraqis. I am sure that he who does this is a
Jew and the son of a Jew."

Wael Abdul Latif, spokesman for the secular bloc of former Prime Minister
Ayad Allawi, said his group also opposed al-Mashhadani because he "is

"His presence does not help the security situation in Iraq," Abdul Latif
said. "He wants to dismiss the will of the people, which has been expressed
by the Iraqis through their support to federalism in the constitution."

Salim Abdullah, a member of al-Mashhadani's alliance, said he was aware of
displeasure with the speaker and indicated his group would not mount a major
fight to retain him in the post.

"The Iraqi street wants stability. I do not support change, but I cannot
support him staying if that's going to have a negative effect," he said. "We
respect the choices of other alliances, and we are reviewing alternatives."

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