BAGHDAD (AFP) – A months-long political crisis in Iraq showed little sign of abating yesterday despite a fresh push for negotiations after nearly 24 hours of deadly violence between rival Shiite factions ended.
The highly-secured Green Zone in Baghdad returned to normality after 30 people were killed and 570 wounded in the clashes pitting supporters of powerful cleric Moqtada Sadr against factions linked to Iran.
Since elections in October last year, political deadlock has left Iraq without a new government, prime minister or president, due to disagreement over the formation of a coalition.
The tensions escalated sharply on Monday when Sadr loyalists stormed the government palace inside the Green Zone following their leader’s announcement that he was quitting politics.
But Sadr’s supporters trickled out of the Green Zone in a steady stream on Tuesday when he appealed for them to withdraw within the hour.
A nationwide curfew was lifted, before shops reopened and infamous traffic jams returned to Baghdad’s streets yesterday as the government announced the resumption of school exams postponed by the unrest.
But the hurdles obstructing a solution to Iraq’s political crisis remained firmly in place, with rival powers refusing to budge on their demands.