Ba'athists will be allowed back in government posts if a bill proposed yesterday, aimed at reconciling dissident Sunnis with the Shiite-dominated government, passes the Iraqi parliament. The U.S has been pushing for the law to law to woo the former Saddam loyalists —mostly Sunnis— into the political process to quell Sunni insurgency.
All Ba'athists were booted from government after the U.S. invasion, even though party membership was required for civil service jobs. "Membership of the Ba'ath party was unavoidable for many people," a western diplomat observed. "Should they punish them for that?" The bill provides for amnesty for any Ba'athist not already charged with crimes after a three-month public challenge period. (Read more Iraq stories.)