Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has presented parliament with a national reconciliation plan including the offer of an amnesty for some prisoners. Early drafts reportedly said only those who had killed Iraqis would be excluded.
But Maliki said amnesty would be refused to those who had committed “terrorist acts”, believed to include militants who have carried out attacks on foreign troops. Maliki also promised a review of the policy of purging state institutions of former senior members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party. US officials believe senior Ba’athists have long supported the Sunni insurgency. Some 13,000 or so mostly Sunni Arab men are being held without charge in US-run jails in Iraq. But some Iraqis are worried about foreign involvement in the continuing violence. One Baghdad resident said: “In my opinion, the national reconciliation plan will face many obstacles, as there are some foreign parties who are pushing the country to the brink of civil war.” Another predicted: “If this plan can serve the Iraqi people from the north to the south of the country, then we will accept it.” On Sunday morning a bomb went off at a wholesale market in Baghdad’s al-Shorja district. At least three people were killed and many more were injured.