Iraq Watch: Newly elected parliament adjourns without speaker, Kurdish leader plans referendum on independence

McClatchy Washington BureauJuly 1, 2014 

Mideast Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, center, greets lawmakers at the first session of the newly elected parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Iraq's new parliament ended its inaugural session Tuesday after failing to make any progress in choosing a new prime minister even as the country faces a militant blitz that threatens to rip it apart and a spike in violence that made June the deadliest month in at least two years.


— Iraq’s newly elected parliament adjourned Tuesday without deciding on a new speaker.

The election of a speaker is the first step in forming a unity government, but the House of Representatives couldn’t maintain a quorum after most of the Sunni and Kurdish members walked out, the Associated Press reports.

With the country under attack by radical Sunni fighters aligned with the al-Qaida spinoff group, the Islamic State, Iraq’s politicians have been under pressure to form an emergency unity government.

Today’s other news from Iraq:

-Heavy fighting is reported in Tikrit between the government forces and the militants who could seize the biggest part of Speicher base. Speicher is one of the biggest military bases in Salah El Din province northwest of Tikrit. A security source said that government forces have seized all the roads leading to Tikrit, and that the next step is to start the ground attack, al-Jazeera reports.

-The president of the Kurdish region of Iraq told the British Broadcasting Corporation that Iraq already has “effectively partitioned” and that he plans to hold a referendum on independence within a month.

- Al-Jazeera also reports that militants have seized the town of Shurin in Daiyala, to the northeast of Baghdad.

- An Iraqi security source said today that security forces killed Abu Bakr al-Chichani the leader of ISIS in Kirkuk.

- A new speech by Caliph Ibrahim will be broadcast soon, the Islamic State said on twitter.

- The Syrian Opposition Coalition denounced the Islamic State’s caliphate, saying it is not Islamic. Nora Al Ameer, vice president of the Syrian Coalition, said the pronouncement of the caliphate “comes in the context of ISIS’s confiscation of the people’s right to self-determination. Al-Ameer also said “that ISIS latest move has nothing to do with Islam, but a new ploy invented by Assad and executed by al-Baghdadi and his criminal gangs with the aim of derailing the revolution away from its stated goals for freedom, democracy and justice.

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