What you missed over the weekend: Some selected articles that we’ve had a look at:
Christians and other smaller minority groups here…have been explicitly made targets and have emigrated in disproportionate numbers. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, these groups account for 20 percent of the Iraqis who have gone abroad, while they were only 3 percent of the country’s prewar population.
More than half of Iraq’s Christian community, estimated to number 800,000 to 1.4 million before the American-led invasion in 2003, have already left the country.
The call by Sadr to shut down clubs and liquor stores throughout the country has angered some who say it is a move to turn Iraq into a more hardline Islamic state.
“What is going on are attempts to turn Iraq into an Islamic republic similar to the one in Iran,” an Iraqi writer and a member of the Iraqi union for writers said, declining to give his name.
Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani threw what appeared to be a bombshell at top Iraqi leaders gathered in Irbil Saturday, insisting that Iraqi Kurdistan should have the right to self-determination.
Barzani was addressing a conference of his Kurdish Democratic Party. His declaration followed a lengthy appeal for a referendum in the ethnically mixed, oil-rich city of Kirkuk. His call, with special emphasis on the word freedom, drew applause from the mostly Kurdish audience.
Kurdish politician Mahmoud Othman told Kurdish television afterwards that the call for self-determination would be “studied by a parliamentary committee in the coming days”, to determine how to proceed.