Update for Sunday, April 3, 2016

As Iraqi forces advance slowly toward Hit, they liberate 1,500 prisoners from an underground dungeon. The prisoners included security forces and civilians.

The advance on Hit has been slowed, however, by trapped civilians.

Displaced people begin to return to Ramadi, but there is no electricity. About 3,000 families are said to have returned to those districts which have been cleared of mines. This is out of some half million people who fled, however. Meanwhile, additional civilians continue to be displaced by fighting.

The UN expects the flood of refugees from the assault on Mosul to swell to 1 million, and there are no resources in place to deal with the problem.

Kurdish MPs demand that the Yazidi city of Shingal (or Sinjar) be declared a "ruined city," a designation that would direct reconstruction funds to the area. The Yazidi speak a Kurdish language and the Kurds have demonstrated solidarity with them, despite their minority religion. However, the city lies outside of what has been the Kurdish autonomous region and its incorporation into Kurdistan is resisted by the Baghdad government.

Parliament has designated all of Anbar province ruined, with 80% of infrastructure destroyed. Reconstruction costs are estimated at $20 billion, of which the Islamic Development Bank has pledged only $250 million. The Iraqi government currently has no significant resources to contribute to the effort.

Salah Naswari in al Jazeera discusses the political reforms. PM Abadi has nominated a new slate of ministers said to be technically competent and politically non-partisan. He will make other personnel changes. Muqtada al-Sadr has voiced support for the moves and called off his occupation of the Green Zone. However, the current ministers will need to resign and parliament will have to approve the new slate. The current power sharing arrangement with ethno-sectarian quotas is also an obstacle to effective governance. The Kurds continue to move toward secession, while Sunni Arabs will see the reforms as merely further marginalizing them. As an example of the problems posed by ethnic politics, Turkmen are demanding representation in the cabinet.

Source : warnewstoday[dot]blogspot[dot]com
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