Iraqi government nixes cease fire proposal.
Egypt wants an international conference on Iraq this week to call for a three-month cease-fire between Iraqi forces and insurgents, according to a draft resolution. But Iraq strongly objected to the idea on Monday.
The Egyptian proposal was the latest source of division between Iraq and its Arab neighbors. It implicitly treats the Shiite-led Iraqi government and the Sunni-led insurgency as equals, and an Iraqi diplomat said Monday that Baghdad rejected the idea.
Arab countries with a majority of Sunnis are demanding that Iraq do more to reach out to Sunni Arabs before pledging any substantial aid. Al-Maliki has rejected any conditions on his government.
Arab nations want the Iraqi government to take concrete steps to better incorporate the Sunnis into the government and military, including changing the constitution and ending the system for purging former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.
Under the Egyptian proposal, the participants would “call on all parties to implement a cease-fire for an initial period of three months to allow for a conducive environment to help foster the political process and national accord,” according to the draft resolutions. It did not elaborate on how insurgents could be brought on board for a cease-fire.
An Iraqi official close to diplomatic discussions of the resolutions said the Egyptian proposal was a nonstarter.
“This is not a good idea. How can we have a cease-fire with terrorists?” said the Iraqi diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.
Although the United States has been pushing al-Maliki to reach out for Sunni Arabs, it is highly unlikely to back a cease-fire with insurgents who are battling U.S. forces as well as Iraqi troops.
Who needs peace, anyway?
RAMADI – A tanker laden with chlorine gas exploded near a restaurant west of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, killing up to six people and wounding 10, police and hospital sources said.
BAGHDAD – At least two people were killed and 15 wounded when a bus bomb exploded in a tunnel targeting a police checkpoint, police said. The explosion badly damaged the tunnel, which is on a main artery in western Baghdad.
BAGHDAD – Three U.S. soldiers died and another was wounded when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb while conducting a combat patrol in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military said. An Iraqi interpreter was also killed in the attack.
BAGHDAD – A U.S. soldier was killed when a combat patrol was attacked with small arms fire in eastern Baghdad on Saturday, the U.S. military said.