Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Blog Entry in which I Agree with Adnan al-Dulaimi

Surprised? You should be. As most of you know, in my opinion the Sunni MP Adnan al-Dulaimi has held back much progress in Iraq over the last four and a half years. Every few months, it seems, he withdraws from Parliament and freezes any legislation currently being debated. I probably shouldn't mention al-Dulaimi's "Criminal Hatwear," but I will.

Today, however, upon learning that over 70 Iraqi MPs have decided to perform the hajj to Mecca instead of tackling the key pieces of legislation before them, such as the oil law, al-Dulaimi started to fume. Mohammed Ameer reports for the AFP ("Iraq parliament grinds to halt as MPs make for Mecca"):
"We had hoped that our brothers would stay in Baghdad," Sunni MP Adnan al-Dulaimi told AFP. "Their decision to travel while we are discussing crucial laws amounts to negligence."

He said MPs should also be discussing a possible amnesty for certain categories of prisoners to coincide with the Islamic Eid al-Adha holy day around December 20 -- marking the end of the hajj -- and adjustments to the ration system for poorer families.

"The speaker of parliament ought to have prevented lawmakers from travelling because this is not an appropriate time to travel -- whether to Mecca or anywhere else," said Dulaimi, a member of the National Concord Front, the main Sunni bloc in parliament.
Jeez. I can't disagree with al-Dulaimi here. Can you? At the same time, some of the Shiite MPs across the aisle are equally upset:
Abbas al-Bayati, member of parliament for the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite factions, was equally scathing.

"The oil and de-Baathification laws and more importantly the annual budget are stalled," Bayati told AFP. "The absentees and the travelling lawmakers have done harm to Iraq's interests."

Even if the hajj pilgrims could be forgiven for their religious pursuits, he added, the other MPs could not.

"If 70 MPs went on pilgrimage where are the other 205 lawmakers? If 50 of them have acceptable reasons where are the rest of them? Their absence sends out a negative signal."
When SCIRI and National Accord Front agree, you know the issue must cross sectarian lines. But my favorite two graphs in the news article come from deputy speaker Khalid al-Atiya:
The assembly's deputy speaker Khalid al-Atiya said the MPs decided to take a short holiday after two successive weeks of work.

"As we had continuous sessions for two straight weeks, it was decided that the parliament would take a break for the next two weeks due to the pilgrimage season," Atiya said.
Heh heh heh.

"Continuous sessions for two straight weeks"!

Wow, take a break, fellas! You deserve it.

Don't worry. We'll make sure we Tivo "Family Guy" while you're on the hajj (hat tip: M.H.Z.).


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