Iraq de-Baathification “reconciliation” bill

The recent passage of new de-Baathification regulations by the Iraqi parliament is potentially a big deal, but in none of the articles I’ve read can I find a vote tally. Major news outlets all report that the bill passed with “barely more than half” of the legislators present, and because of the parliamentary rules, a fair amount of legislation can pass the Council of Representatives (CoR) with a “simple majority” — i.e., a majority of a quorum. Since only half (of 275 members) is required for a quorum, it’s possible that as few as 70 (or roughly 25%) of the CoR passed this, which would hardly be the reconciliation victory US leaders are claiming.

The only info I’ve seen on Sunni reaction is that Mutlaq (leader of the National Dialogue Front, the smaller of the two major Sunni parties and a relative hard-liner) walked out of the vote, which certainly seems to be a sign that Sunnis don’t think this actually helps them. I haven’t seen any major Sunni politician endorse it, and reportedly the bill was drafted (and is being hailed by) Sadrists, which makes it pretty unlikely that it will lead to real reconciliation as opposed to misleading press releases. It’s no fun being the one to always question stated gains in Iraq, but at first blush this looks like the Iraqi version of the “Clean Skies Act” or something — calling a piece of legislation something good to hide that it actually sucks. In any case, it’s really frustrating not to be able to see who voted for what in the reports about this. It could really indicate any number of things, but it’s impossible to determine the reality from the initial reports.

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