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Flag of Iraq
  1. Iraq Main Page
  2. Iraq Gains Independence
  3. Rise of the Baath Party
  4. Saddam Hussein's Ascendancy Brings Series of Wars
  5. The UN Steps In With Sanctions and Weapons Inspections
  6. The U.S. Launches War in Iraq
  7. With No Evidence of Weapons in Iraq, Bush Calls Iraq the Focal Point of War on Terror
  8. War Does Little to Improve Infrastructure or Security in Iraq
  9. Insurgency Gathers Steam
  10. Iraqi Leadership Struggles in Effort to Form a Government
  11. U.S. Strategy Under Fire
  12. President Bush Hopes Surge of U.S. Troops Will Change Course of War
  13. Iraqi Parliament Gets Down to Business
  14. Iraqi Government Shows Signs of Stability
  15. U.S. Role Diminishes in Iraq
  16. Political Veterans Fare Well in Parliamentary Elections
  17. War in Iraq Is Officially Over
  18. Political Unrest and Violence Continue
Iraqi Parliament Gets Down to Business

On Jan. 8, 2008, Parliament passed the Justice and Accountability Law, which allows many Baathists, former members of Saddam Hussein's party, to resume the government jobs they lost after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition, many former Baathists who will not be permitted to return to their positions are entitled to pensions. The law is the first major benchmark of political progress reached by the Iraqi government. It was criticized, however, for being quite vague and confusing, and because of its many loopholes, more Baathists may be excluded from government posts than will be granted employment.

Parliament passed another round of legislation in February, which included a law that outlines provincial powers, an election timetable, a 2008 budget, and an amnesty law that will affect thousands of mostly Sunni Arab prisoners. A divided Iraqi Presidency Council vetoed the package, however.

In March, about 30,000 Iraqi troops and police, with air support from the U.S. and British military, attempted to oust Shiite militias, primarily the Mahdi Army led by radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, that control Basra and its lucrative ports in southern Iraq. The operation failed, and the Mahdi Army maintained control over much of Basra. Prime Minister Maliki was criticized for poorly planning the assault. After negotiations with Iraqi officials, al-Sadr ordered his militia to end military action in exchange for amnesty for his supporters, the release from prison of his followers who have not been convicted of crimes, and the government's help in returning to their homes Sadrists who fled fighting. The compromise was seen as a blow to Maliki. In addition, more than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers either refused to participate in the operation or deserted their posts.

After a boycott of almost a year, the largest Sunni block in Iraq's government, Tawafiq, announced in April that it would return to the cabinet of Prime Minister Maliki. Tawafiq's leader, Adnan al-Dulaimi, said that by passing an amnesty law and launching an assault on Shiite militias, the government had met enough of its demands to end the boycott. In July, Parliament approved the nomination of six Sunni members of Tawafiq to the cabinet.

Next: Iraqi Government Shows Signs of Stability
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