Iraq signs law to help ex-Baathists

Step to give thousands of former members of Saddam's party their old jobs back.

    The law aims to promote reconciliation between Shia and Sunni Arabs [AFP]

    However, Iraq's Shia-led government has faced opposition to the passing of the law.
    Tareq al-Hashemi, the Sunni Arab vice president and member of the presidential council, criticised the law because it may pension off 7,000 members of the Iraqi security services who formerly worked for Saddam's secret police.
    Al-Hashemi said late last week he would not back the legislation because it would force many people given jobs after the 2003 US-led invasion out of those posts.
    In video

    Iraq's Baathists wary
    of new law

    There are also fears that those going back to jobs will be demoted or badly treated.
    Many ex-Baathists have re-joined public service already and are worried that the law could mean their removal for a second time.
    Yet, for many of those eligible it is their only option for work.
    George Bush, the US president, has said that the law was the first of 18 pieces of benchmark legislation to promote reconciliation between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq.
    The law was originally passed by parliament on January 12.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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