While the "Department of Sunni property" welcomed Rice's call for increasing the participation of the Arab Sunni in drafting the constitution, Adnan Al-Dulaimi, the spokesman of this entity described this initiative as a "good step, although it came late" and added "we feel sorry such a call came from America while it should've come from inside Iraq…".
Al-Dulaimi went on saying "When America is defending the Sunni interests it's actually defending America's interests as a broader Sunni role in writing the constitution will add to stability and produce a favorable political balance in Iraq…"
Here we can see another aspect of the change in the way some Sunni parties and entities are viewing America's attitude towards Iraq; instead of saying that America wants Iraq to remain in chaos to justify the presence of American troops (like they used to say for a long time), now they began to realize (or admit) that America's and Iraq's interests can be more correlated to each other and that America does want stability in Iraq.
While Harith Al-Dhari of the "Association of Muslim scholars" said "what the American minister said is empty words..." and he stressed again that his trend will not take part in any political process as long as the country is "under occupation".
I pointed out many times that Al-Dhari and his group are far from being representatives of the mainstream Sunni opinion; he and his group insist on singing a different tone than the rest of the Sunni community therefore they're getting more and more isolated.
Meanwhile, Sistani urged PM Jafari to work on including more Sunni members in the "constitution drafting committee". This committee is comprised of 55 members; 28 of who are from the She'at dominated block of the "United Coalition" while there are only 2 Sunni members in it so far.
Iraqi press reported this morning that Jafari "strongly refused" a call from the American secretary of state to postpone Saddam's trial. Jafari explained this refusal by saying "This could lead to more violence in this phase" and he stressed that the trial must take place as soon as possible. Jafari also rejected the idea of starting negotiations with the militant groups but he showed his agreement with what Rice suggested about the need for a greater Sunni role in the constitutional process and he admitted that "the current percentage of Sunni members of that committee does not reflect the magnitude of the Sunni population" and he stressed that he will "work hard to include more Sunni in the process".
At the same time Rice asked Jafari to stick to the time table of his government; Jafari said that he will try to do that but if something critical would require extending the time table then "we will go for extending it".
I am not certain what they were referring to by "extending the time table" but I guess it's related to the situation that appears and the measure taken to handle the situation when the parliament fails to write an agreeable constitution which should be submitted to the people by August 15 this year.
The Iraqi ministry of defense announced through the local media that it gave orders to all Iraqi troops to "stop attacking or searching worship places; mosques, *husaniyas and churches".
I really don't know why they added churches here because churches were never involved in violence, actually they were targeted by terrorists more than once and I feel that adding churches to the list of forbidden places here is just ridiculous.
Plus, what if we had strong evidence that some terrorists or serious weapons were inside a mosque or a husainiya? What if the ministry receives intelligence that Zarqawi or Izzat Al-Doori was hiding in a mosque? Should the troops ignore the information and let the terrorists go?
I think it was better to write the decision in a more specific and detailed manner, for example "no worship places should be attacked or searched unless there are solid evidence that these places are being used against they way they should be" and I think that if there has to be a specific rule that protects mosques or churches then there also has to be a rule that protects houses too because to me, my house is more sacred than any other place in the world.
*A husainiya is a name used to call She'at mosques.
Every time oil supplies are resumed through the northern pipeline (that connects Kirkuk's oilfield with the Turkish ports), it doesn't take more than a week before the pipeline is blown up again. It happens so fast that newspapers sometimes announce resuming the supplies and the sabotage in the same day as positive news move slower usually.
Anyway, the medai is not the subject here.
It's really frustrating to see this happening over and over again while the government seems incapable of finding a cure for this problem.
An Iraqi columnist suggested a solution for this pipeline's tragedy and wht she wrote caught my attention; she said among other things in long column:
The pipeline is 300 km long, so what if we hire one man to guard each one meter of the pipeline? This means we will need 300 thousand men and assuming that we'll pay each man a salary of 300 $ a moth and provide him with 200 $ worth of supplies and equipment each month, the total cost per year will be something around 1.8 billion $. Sounds like a lot of money, right?
But let's think of it this way; at an export rate of 0.5 million barrels/day at a price of 40 $, the revenue will be something like 7.3 billion $ per year, subtract the 1.8 billions that are needed for protecting the pipeline and we will end up making a 5.5 billion $ income per year (instead of the almost nothing we're getting right now) and we will provide jobs for 300 thousand men.
Maybe this is a wild suggestion and maybe the columnist is a dreamer but I guess with a few modifications, a good and practical plan can be reached.