Iraqi Papers Monday: Explosive Parliament Session: Deputies Storm Out of Meeting, Doubts Surrounding Najaf Events
By AMER MOHSEN
It is hard to determine what exactly happened in the parliamentary session in Baghdad yesterday. What we know is that the I’tilaf bloc (the Shi`a bloc) left the session in anger after the Speaker, Mahmud al-Mashhadani, read a statement by tribal leaders that contested the official version of the battle that took place in the environs of Najaf last week. The government claimed that an attack was launched by American and government forces to foil a plot by a millenarian cult that was planning to attack the holy city of Najaf during the celebrations of `Ashura and assassinate high Shi`a clerics.
According to Az-Zaman, the Iraqi police has prevented the press from covering the entirety of the heated debates in the Iraqi parliament over the events in Najaf and other issues that have sharply divided the Iraqi parliament. The Iraqi daily said that security forces prevented journalists from taking photos or covering the debates after the session degenerated into name-calling and mutual attacks.
From what Iraqi and Arab media gathered, the parliamentary session was shaken by demands from Iraqi deputies to open an investigation into the events that led to the battles around Najaf last week. The battles resulted in hundreds of deaths; the government’s version was that the dead all belonged to an eschatological cult called “the soldiers of Heaven” that was planning to implement terrorist activities in `Ashura. Iraqi deputies contested that version and claimed that many innocent men and women were among the dead, and that the entire battle was a cover-up for a government plot to eliminate anti-government Shi`as.
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