On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.
It's a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time; previous attempts at a similar resolution fell just short of the 138 votes needed to pass (there are 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, but many have fled the country's civil conflict, and at times it's been difficult to arrive at a quorum).
That falls on the heels of Dick Cheney's trip to Baghdad where he said this about a proposed two-month vacation for the Iraqi parliament:
Cheney said that he had pressed Iraq's leaders to forgo plans for a two-month parliamentary summer recess, especially at a time when the White House's Democratic foes are trying to end US involvement in Iraq.
"I did make it clear that we believe it's very important to move on the issues before us in a timely fashion, that any undue delay would be difficult to explain," he said.
Perhaps you shouldn't have pressed 'em, Mr. Vice President.
Update: The vote may have actually predated visit; Spot isn't sure. They were reasonably contemporaneous in any event.
Tags: Iraq war, Dick Cheney