Angry Dispute Erupts Among Iraqi Lawmakers
BAGHDAD, Jan. 25 — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s presentation of a new Baghdad security plan to the Iraqi Parliament on Thursday broke down in bitter sectarian recriminations, with Mr. Maliki threatening a Sunni Arab lawmaker with arrest and, in response, the Sunni speaker of Parliament threatening to quit.One happy family?
Eventually, the tensions eased and lawmakers approved the security plan, which gives Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, more authority. But the episode provided the Iraqi public with a live televised view of the extent of raw anger dividing Shiite and Sunni politicians.
Outside of Parliament, bloody sectarian battles continued on the streets of Baghdad. Three hours after the confrontation between lawmakers, a huge car bomb killed at least 25 people in the Karrada district, less than a mile from Parliament in an area favored by leading Shiite politicians. Residents there reported a horrific scene, with two busloads of people trapped in their vehicles and burned alive.
Mr. Maliki made his threat to arrest the Sunni lawmaker shortly after promising once again that a crackdown on illegal activity and would be carried out with equal vigor in Shiite as well as Sunni communities.
As the prime minister continued, Shiites encouraged him on and Sunni Arabs tried to shout him down.In Senator Chuck Hagel's words, we are going to put more Americans into this "meat grinder".
Mr. Mashhadani yelled for everyone to “shut up.”
“I cannot see how it is possible that a new security plan can work,” he said in disgust.