Iraq troop debate ends in uproar

Parliament speaker walks out of house after arguments over Bush shoe-throwing incident.

Protests have occurred in Baghdad overthe imprisoning of al-Zaidi [AFP]
Protests have occurred in Baghdad overthe imprisoning of al-Zaidi [AFP]

“There were hot discussions exchanged between the speaker and some of the other MPs and between the MPs themselves. And some of the MPs connected this to the Muntadhar al-Zaidi problem.

“The whole thing escalated … the speaker got very angry. He got up and said I can’t work like this in this parliament and I am resigning officially … and he stormed out.”

No concrete resignation

However, Othman said that the speaker has not actually tendered his resignation as yet.

The house has been attempting to ratify a treaty on the grounds for prosecution of foreign troops in Iraq and who has jurisdiction over such cases – the US or Iraq – in recent months, to considerable parliamentary and public consternation.

In the US, Dana Perino, the White House spokesperson, said that the Bush administration had put the shoe-throwing incident behind it.

At a news conference in Washington on Tuesday, Perino, who was sporting a black eye from a scuffle which broke out after al-Zaidi launched his shoes, joked to journalists: “The shoe check-in and check-out policy will begin tomorrow.

“We hold no hard feelings about it, and we’ve really moved on.”

Folk hero

Al-Zaidi has become a folk hero to some in Iraq after he threw his shoes at Bush, who ordered the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, during a news conference in Baghdad.

Protests occurred in Baghdad on Monday and Tuesday over al-Zaidi’s arrest after the incident.

The journalist faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of breaking the Iraqi law of “aggression against a president”.

Al-Zaidi’s brother on Tuesday accused Iraqi police of mistreating al-Zaidi in custody, including breaking his hand.

Bush was on a surprise farewell trip to Iraq and was giving a joint news conference with Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, at the time of the incident.

Bush ducked each flying shoe and appeared unscathed by al-Zaidi’s consecutive verbal abuse.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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