Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Sunday election of Iyad al-Samarrai as the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament could create some challenges for Iraq. Iraq has been without a president of the Legislature the prior speaker stepped down in December. With Iraq struggling to form provincial governments in the wake of the January elections and political turmoil simmering the challenge for the new speaker is to overcome ethinic-political divides while moving the country forward in such areas as rebuilding and oil/gas leases. Resolving the jurisdictional fight over oil-rich Kirkuk and the various disputed territories near Kurdistan will also be high on the agenda. A constitutional committee on Kirkuk that was supposed to help resolve this dispute has failed to meet a March 31 deadline, causing political tensions in the region to accelerate. With the Kurdish provinces preparing for provincial elections in May (at this point) there are worries that inattention or lack of resolution in Baghdad could turn this into widespread conflict.

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