Iraqi Parliament Dissolves de-Baathification Commission

5/23/2005 4:18:02 PM

Baghdad, May 22: Parliament has dissolved the US-formed commission that removed senior Baath party members from state institutions, and named a new one comprising Iraqi legislators, the commission's executive director said today.

Ali al-Lami said the new commission, which resumes work today, carries the identical name and performs the same role as its predecessor, which was responsible for purging 35,000 former members of Saddam Hussein's political party from Iraqi government jobs.

The key difference is Iraq's new Parliament, elected following Jan 30 elections, chose the new commission's members, instead of US authorities, who selected the original 11-member body in September 2003.

The Supreme National Commission for de-baathification is one of 27 National Assembly committees.

In May 2003, the US dissolved and banned the Baath party, a month after toppling Saddam's regime, a move that angered many iraqis who felt unfairly singled out by the occupying power.

The de-baathification process targeted those who served in the party's upper echelons _ an estimated 65,000 people. Of that number, some 35,000 senior Baathists lost their jobs in the eight months after the policy took effect. But 16,000 appealed and returned to their posts.

Washington softened its stance, however, amid a rise in insurgent attacks by inviting former high-level officers from the disbanded military to join the new security forces.