Saturday, February 11, 2006
By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer -- Saturday, 1 hour, 1 minute ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Shiite politicians failed Saturday to select a new prime minister as rivalry within their alliance forced a delay in the balloting. An Iraqi army spokesman was assassinated in Basra, a southern city plagued by lawlessness and violence by Shiite militias. Iraqi soldiers, right, pray over the casket of the Army spokesman Capt. Makram al-Abbasi who was killed in a hail of gunfire from a civilian car, in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006. Capt. al-Abbasi was shot dead in British-controlled Basra, a southern city that had been also been noted for its relative stability, but has seen renewed violence, in part fueled by rival Shiite militias and local opposition to the coalition troop presence. (AP Photo/Nabil Al-Jurani)
Members of the Shiite alliance who won seats in parliament in the December election gathered in Baghdad to discuss their choice for prime minister but postponed a vote for at least a day at the request of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's faction.
Shiite officials who attended the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the delay was due to last-minute differences between al-Sadr's faction and another group within the alliance.
Choosing a new premier, and in turn forming a long-term government, are key steps in 's sluggish political process that the United States -- and many Iraqis -- hope will lead to an end to the bloodshed and an improvement in the daily lives for this country's 27 million people.
But the violence underscored the worsening sectarian nature of the country's conflict and the dangers facing Iraqi security forces, which the United States hopes will be able to control the insurgency so U.S.-led forces can go home.
An Iraqi tribal leader, Sheik Osama al-Jadaan, said his followers have seized more than 1,400 "terrorists" in a three-month counterinsurgency operation that began about a month ago along the Iraq- border.
Full AP-Yahoo News story. D.H.: It's good to see the mainstream media use the word "terrorists" in quotes, because for some time I have felt there is substantial dispute over the proper use of this term. Why is it that sometimes the supposed anti-terrorists are more violent (large smart bombs dropped on hospitals, schools and weddings, for example) than the so-called "terrorists" who blow themselves and other up with small suicide bombs?
Another question I have is -- with the much-touted growth of the foothold of democracy in the middle-east, why are the Shiites, with their overwhelming victory at the polls, having a hard time selecting a prime minister?
And while I'm at this business of asking pesky questions, how have we improved the situation when Saddam Hussein is locked up, but "radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr" has enough clout that he can hold up a vote for Prime Minister?
It helps me to sleep at night to know that while I might not have answers to these difficult questions, our president and his intelligence advisors do. Or if they don't, they are wiretapping the phones and emails of those who do.Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com
Donate to DemLog, a project of Marcus Comton (click on box below to go to PayPal and donate). Thank you very much: