Rockets Strike Iraq’s Green Zone as Deadlocked Parliament Meets

By Reuters
October 13, 2022Middle East
Rockets Strike Iraq’s Green Zone as Deadlocked Parliament Meets
Cement blocs placed by Iraqi security forces block a road leading to the Green Zone in Baghdad as lawmakers gather for their fourth attempt this year to elect a new state president, Iraq, on Oct. 13, 2022. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images)

BAGHDAD—Nine rockets landed on Thursday around the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, home to government buildings and foreign missions, the military said, shortly before parliament began a session to elect a new president amid a protracted political deadlock.

Several members of the security forces were injured in the attack, the military statement said without giving more details.

Similar attacks took place last month as the parliament was holding a vote to confirm its speaker.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Rocket attacks on the Green Zone have happened regularly in recent years but are normally directed at Western targets by Iran-backed extremist groups.

Thursday’s vote comes amid deep political divisions that have led to a year-long stalemate. Parliament convened shortly after the missile attack.

The presidency is a largely ceremonial position, but the presidency vote is a key step in the political process because the president invites the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc to form a government.

Thursday’s parliament session comes a year after an election in which populist Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was the biggest winner but failed to rally support to form a government.

Sadr withdrew his 73 lawmakers in August and said he would quit politics, prompting the worst violence in Baghdad for years when his loyalists stormed a government palace and fought rival Shi’ite groups, most of them backed by Iran and with armed wings.

Under a power-sharing system designed to avoid sectarian conflict, Iraq’s president is a Kurd, its prime minister a Shi’ite, and its parliament speaker a Sunni. Disagreement among the main Kurdish parties that run the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq has prevented the selection of a president.

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