Baath Party

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West Worried About Heavy-Handed Iraq PM

Maliki crackdown may herald return to authoritarian rule

(Newser) - As the US prepares to depart Iraq, some in the West see worrying signs that the country may be sliding back toward authoritarian rule. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who met with President Obama in Washington yesterday, has been moving swiftly to consolidate power as the Americans head for the door.... More »

Syrian Rebels Escalate, Shell Baath HQ

Rebels takes credit for big escalation of violence against Assad regime

(Newser) - Two rocket-propelled grenades rocked the Baath party headquarters in Damascus this morning just before dawn, the first insurgent attack in the Syrian capital since unrest began in March, reports the Telegraph . The Syrian Free Army took credit for the attack, although the AP said that it could not confirm the... More »

What to Do With a Koran Written in Saddam's Blood?

'Blood Koran' kept in high-security vault

(Newser) - Nearly eight years after Saddam Hussein’s fall from power, Iraqi officials are still grappling with relics of his rule. Debate is raging over the fate of a Koran written in 27 liters of Saddam’s own blood, drawn by a nurse and lettered by a calligrapher over a two-year... More »

Iraq Spurns Baathists Despite US Prodding

(Newser) - Despite entreaties from Washington, Iraq’s majority-Shiite government is hardening its stance against the outlawed Sunni-dominated Baath party, the New York Times reports. Blamed by some for recent bombings of Shiites, Baathists are “filled with hate from head to toe," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said this week, after... More »

Iraq Officials Busted in Coup Plot

Generals, old regime members arrested in Ministry of Interior sweep

(Newser) - Iraq has arrested up to 35 Ministry of the Interior officials over the last three days for their part in a plot to revive Saddam Hussein's Baath party, the New York Times reports. Some being held were in the early stages of planning a coup, say officials. Four generals were... More »

Saddam's Last Days Revealed

CNN tours the former dictator's US detention cell

(Newser) - The dictator who ruled with a murderous fist spent his time writing in his journal and tending to a small garden his captors allowed him in the prison courtyard. And on his execution day, the man known as "Vic" told guards to tell his daughter he was going to... More »

Iraq Ends Ban on Saddam-Era Baath Officials

Will allow thousands of civil servants to reapply for jobs, pensions

(Newser) - The Iraqi parliament today cleared the way for former members of Saddam's Baath party to rejoin the government and military, the BBC reports. The move is seen as a way to smooth tensions between Shiites, who control the new government, and Sunnis, who ruled under Saddam and dominated the Baath... More »

Shiites Shout Down Iraqi Law

Bill to let Baathists in government gets shelved after uproar; Bush calls law vital

(Newser) - Iraqi lawmakers shouted down a bill today that would let members of Saddam's Baath party return to public posts, AFP reports. Shiite lawmakers heckled the first reading of the measure, which Bush has touted as a benchmark of Iraqi progress. Now the bill goes to a legal body for changes,... More »

Iranian Official Hits US for Scapegoating

Ambassador to Iraq says US is trying 'to cover up failed plans'

(Newser) - The US is hyping an Iranian threat to Iraq to deflect attention away from its mistakes, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq told CNN, again denying allegations Tehran is attacking American troops trying to stabilize the country. “US security plans for Iraq have not succeeded,” Hassan Kazemi-Qomi said. The... More »

Iraq Making Slow Gains on Goals, Says White House

Government met only half of its benchmarks

(Newser) - Iraq has made "satisfactory" progress on only half of its 18 benchmarks for success, the White House told Congress today, hours after President Bush said the country’s advancements merited a strong US military presence there. Since the July progress report, only one benchmark—reintegrating Baathists into the government—... More »

No Chemical Ali, But Saddam's Soldiers Wanted in Army Again

Iraqi forces desperate for skilled officers

(Newser) - The Iraqi Army and police need a few good men, and they’re more and more willing to look in Saddam’s old ledger. Many of the new forces’ problems are said to stem from the 2003 decision by the US to disband the standing army; now recruiters are trying... More »

US Hails Iraq Breakthrough

Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders announce deal on key issues

(Newser) - In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in Iraq, Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders yesterday  announced that they have reached a consensus on key political issues, Reuters reports. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the other leaders claimed to have forged an agreement on releasing some detainees, easing curbs on... More »

More Cabinet Defections Imperil Iraqi Regime

Political chaos rises as more cabinet-members

(Newser) - Four more Iraqi cabinet ministers said today they're boycotting meetings, bringing the total to a whopping 17 and leaving PM Nouri al-Maliki with a tenuous majority in the 37-member body. In the latest round of infighting, the newest defectors, all allies of the country's first postwar PM, charge that Maliki... More »

Hoon Admits Iraq Screwups

British defense minister regrets mistakes, underestimating Dick Cheney

(Newser) - In a confessional interview about his Iraq war regrets, the former British defense secretary tells the Guardian that the Brits' biggest miscalculation was underestimating Dick Cheney. Geoff Hoon said he and other senior ministers would air disagreements with Bush, Rumsfeld, and Powell, and they'd come away thinking they'd made their... More »

Sunnis Threaten To Quit Cabinet

The largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament issues an ultimatum

(Newser) - The largest bloc of Sunni Arabs in Iraq's parliament threatened to pull its five ministers out of the cabinet yesterday, the New York Times reports. To forestall the pullout, which would further undermine the faltering government, President Bush phoned Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni Arab vice president, to discuss their concerns. More »

Cleric Opposes Rebaathification

Sistani rejects law aimed at quelling Sunni insurgency

(Newser) - A bill allowing Saddam's party members back into power in Iraq has been rejected by that country's most powerful cleric. The law, aggressively  pushed by the U.S.,  would  allow former low-level Baathists--most of them Sunnis--to hold positions in government. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the powerful Shiite cleric, dismissed... More »

Bill Would Put Ba'athists Back in Power

Aim is to woo Sunnis into Shiite-dominated government

(Newser) - Ba'athists will be allowed back in government posts if a bill proposed yesterday, aimed at  reconciling dissident Sunnis with the Shiite-dominated government, passes the Iraqi parliament.  The U.S has been pushing for the law to law to woo the former Saddam loyalists —mostly Sunnis— into the political... More »

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