Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Iraq political row threatens British troop vote

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Political squabbling in Iraq's parliament threatened again on Tuesday to hold up a measure needed by December 31 to permit troops from Britain, Australia and a handful of other countries to remain in Iraq next year.

Lawmakers were expected to meet in a special session in the afternoon to discuss the proposal on the foreign troops, and also the fate of parliamentary speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, who some lawmakers are demanding be ousted, said Fouad Masoum, a leading Kurdish politician.

But the debate on foreign troops could be overtaken for a second day by the storm surrounding Mashhadani, whose crude language and insults during a session last week infuriated some Kurdish and Shi'ite lawmakers.

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