Iraqi Government Shake-Up to Pass US-Demanded Legislation

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Yesterday, a report in Dubai-based Gulfnews forecast a Baghdad govenrment “shake-up”:

Under pressure from the Congress, Arab states and Sunni Iraqi leaders, the US administration on Tuesday set the stage for “major” political changes in Iraq.

The changes will be in “the structure, nature and direction of the Iraqi state,” a senior American official in Baghdad was quoted by AP as saying.

He did not give out details, but the plan is expected to be high on the agenda of a ‘crisis summit’ which would be attended by key Iraqi leaders who seek to save the crumbling national unity government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.

Today, the AP reports, Iraqi leaders have formed a new majority alliance:

The Iraqi prime minister and president announced a new alliance of moderate Shiites and Kurds in a push to save the crumbing government Thursday, saying a key Sunni bloc refused to join but the door remained open to them. …

At the news conference announcing the political accord, President Jalal Talabani and al-Maliki were flanked by the leader of the northern autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, and Shiite Vice President Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The four men signed a three-page agreement they said ensures them a majority in the 275-member parliament that would allow action on legislation demanded by the U.S.

A cynical observer might predict: a rush of legislation being passed by the reengineered Iraqi parliament just in time before the September non-Petraeus Petraeus report, fulfilling several of the Congressionally-mandated benchmarks.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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