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IRAQ: This SOFA is no love seat

November 20, 2008 |  1:21 pm


The Iraqi Parliament session could have been an episode of ultimate fighting or the Three Stooges.

Head-scarf-wearing female Parliament members banged binders; security guards and a lawmaker shoved one another. An angry MP threw flowers off a desk like a rock star in a music video. Iraqi soldiers pushed people away from the dais. One half-expected to hear someone cry out "food fight" or see Groucho Marx shuffling through.

The pandemonium from Wednesday’s Parliament session was broadcast on Iraqi state television Thursday as the Assembly Speaker Mahmoud Mashaadani and Deputy  Speaker Khalid Attiyah wanted to show the public who was to blame for a violent row over the pending U.S.-Iraq security pact.

If anything could ignite the Parliament, it was the U.S-.Iraqi security agreement that would extend the American presence in Iraq another three years.  So the session turned into a brawl, with the opposing sides blaming one another.

In exasperation, Parliament Speaker  Mashaadani, flanked by bodyguards, adjourned the Parliament until today. The footage painted the Sadrists as creating a combative atmosphere.

On Thursday, no fighting broke out and lawmakers approved a second reading of the law. It needs to go to a third reading before a vote.

-- Baghdad bureau

Photo: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki talks to the press about the U.S.-Iraqi pact that caused a ruckus in Parliament. Credit: HO / AFP / Getty Images