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Iraqi parliament in limbo as ISIL declares Islamic caliphate

Source: Reuters - Tue, 1 Jul 2014 20:28 PM
Author: Reuters
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A convoy of ISIL fighters in eastern Syria, Monday.

The black flag of their rebel movement waving over their heads.

Sunni fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant parade through the town of Raqqa.

Their group wants to set up an Islamic caliphate in the region and its fighters now fully control these city streets.

In the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, parliament tries to cope.

The Sunni insurgency threatens to cut Iraq apart along its three main sectarian lines - Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurd.

On Tuesday, Parliament convened for the first time since April elections.

It's under pressure to form an inclusive unity government.

But it failed to name a replacement for embattled Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri-al-Maliki.

And that prompted Sunnis and Kurds to simply walk out, leaving less than a third of lawmakers in the room.

Sunni former speaker of the house Osama al-Nujaifi:

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AND THE SUNNI FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, OSAMA AL-NUJAIFI, SAYING:

"We are not interested in any participation in the new government until a new status is introduced in Iraq. If there is a new policy with a new prime minister, we will deal with them positively. Otherwise the country will go from bad to worse."

Parliament is unlikely to meet again for at least a week.

Leaving Iraq in political limbo.

But Baghdad can't afford any more delays.

This week, ISIL renamed itself the "Islamic State".

In more amateur video, this one Reuters can't verify, its fighters parade their weapons in Raqqa.

They're celebrating their declaration of an Islamic caliphate in the region.

They're claiming universal authority over territory they now control along both sides of this embattled border.

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