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Iraq’s new parliament postponed its next session for five weeks on Monday, extending the country’s political paralysis in the face of a Sunni Islamist insurgency which claimed the life of an army general on the northwestern outskirts of Baghdad. The senior Iraqi general was killed in fighting with insurgents close to Baghdad on Monday, as the army fights to hold militants back from the capital. Citing the inability of political camps to reach “understanding and agreement” on nominations for the top three posts in government, the office of acting speaker Mehdi al-Hafidh said parliament would not meet again until Aug. 16. Putting off the work of reaching consensus for five weeks is a slap in the face to efforts by Iraq’s Shi’ite clergy – along with the United States, the United Nations and Iran – to foster an inclusive government to hold the country together.



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