The political situation is still an utter mess with the blocs themselves not knowing what they're doing or what they want…well, maybe some of them do but in general they're all basing their movements on reactions rather than a clear work plan.
Less than 24 hours before the parliament is scheduled to convene again and there's no agreement on the top 9 government posts and I think the chances for resuming the session is hardly around 50% that's if and only if the blocs present an agreeable list of 6 candidates president, chairmanship of the parliament and their deputies.
The premiership as you already know is another whole story; some parties within the UIA still insist that Jafari is the only candidate for this post while others leaked news about a deal to replace Jafari with another candidate also from the Dawa Party and here the names are either Jawad al-Maliki or Ali al-Adeeb and both of them have no better chances than Jafari had in gaining acceptance from other blocs and the official nomination of either one will probably move the process back to the first square and will make future negotiations even harder than what we've been seeing for the past 4 months.
Just now I heard from al-Arabiya news that the blocs failed to agree on the presidency council because of the names that emerged as candidates for the deputies posts; the names included Salih al-Mutlaq, two members from the Accord Front and surprisingly Ayad Allawi and Aadil Abdul Mahdi and these latter two were unexpected (and to a certain degree not preferred) to come here because Allawi had been long expected (and wanted) to become deputy PM while seeing Adul Mahdi's name here indicates that he isn't considering rerunning for premiership which supports the possibility of nominating someone from the Dawa Party and this can bring a deadlock even worse that what we already have; al-Maliki and al-Adeeb are far less accepted than Jafari.
Schools and universities told their students today not to come tomorrow and there are unconfirmed news that a daytime curfew will be imposed tomorrow to provide security during the meeting of the parliament, that's if they are going to meet.
The number of agreements that must be reached before the parliament can convene varies from one statement to another; some say that at least the presidency and parliament chairmanship must be decided today before going to the parliament and if this is the case the session will most likely be postponed, while other officials say that agreeing on the chairmanship alone is enough and the presidency can be decided tomorrow or in a later session.
Regardless of which threshold is the actual one, none has been reached as of now and no deal of any sort has been announced in this regard.
This is how things inside the 'green zone' look like but outside its walls or out in the 'red zone' like many call it now the concerns are different, mostly staying alive is what people care about…
The security situation had been steadily deteriorating since after the elections and the Samarra mosque bombing and Baghdad has become more dangerous a place than it used to be.
Makeshift barricades that block entrances and inner streets are now a common sight all over Baghdad, and these are part of protection plans implemented by the so called 'popular teams' or 'neighborhood watch teams' but in fact these teams are not so popular or people-based as they consist of trends that reflect the demographics of any given district; in one neighborhood the teams are led by the Mehdi militias while in others by former Ba'athists.
These protection plans in addition to street blocks include putting more lights on the streets and in some neighborhoods you find fluorescent lights fixed on electricity and phone posts in front of each house. The expenses for this extra lighting is collected from the residents and the lights depend on private generators for electricity instead of the national grid that provides only 4 hours of power a day.
The plans also include night patrols and checkpoint that usually appear after sunset and are manned by young guys mostly under 25 who walk around the blocks or sit at crossroads for a few hours beyond midnight.
In some neighborhoods you'll be asked to either take duties in these patrols or pay 10,000 dinars each month "to support the watch teams" and the number rises to 15,000 in areas dominated by the Mehdi militias.
I personally do not feel safer with these teams around me because they represent yet another form in which the phenomenon of militias is being rooted but people here consider it a better alternative for the poor performance of the police and other interior ministry forces. And of course we frequently hear about clashes caused in many cases by misunderstanding between locals and government forces at night; after the people were told not to obey the police unless accompanied by the army or the MNF during night raids, those watch teams became suspicious of police patrol after night falls and they would set off alarms that are usually false about a suspected raid by the interior ministry commandoes.
Many such clashes took place recently especially at Aadhamiya, Hay al-Aamil and al-Doura and people tell contradicting rumors about the casualties but all indicate that large battles have happened.
Baghdad's residents are managing their daily life with great difficulty and each delay in forming the government makes the situation even tenser and people more worried and people of course have different attitudes; there are always those who expect the worst to come and there are those who still have hope that this mess must reach an end, however they all agree that the situation now is bad by all standards and the accusation fingers mostly point at politicians who are being blamed for this exacerbating crisis.