Iraq’s parliament will meet on Sunday – a month earlier than planned – as it caves to public pressure to quickly form a new government and unify the nation to stand against the jihadist forces threatening Baghdad. The meeting on July 13, unfortunately, will likely feature continued deadlock between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite majority against Sunni Arabs and Kurds, making it improbable that there will be progress selecting new leaders.
The center of the logjam is that Sunni and Kurdish critics of Maliki are calling for him to step down to ease tensions before other leadership posts are chosen, but the Iraqi leader plans to seek a third term.
Since Iraq’s parliament formed in 2005, there has been a Shiite prime minister, a Kurdish president and a Sunni speaker of parliament. The oil-rich nation had its parliamentary election in April but the first meeting of the new representatives resulted in a walkout on July 1. The announcement that Iraq’s politicians were meeting sooner than its meeting scheduled for August received praise and calls for government unity in a tweet from Simon Collis, the UK’s ambassador to Iraq.
While the nation’s politicians argue the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant tightens is grip on the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest, which fell to the al-Qaida inspired militants in June. The Sunni group, which declared it will establish a new Islamic caliphate in the region, recently demanded to be called “The Islamic State” and called for international support from Muslims.