BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP – The Iraqi government accused Jordan on Sunday of allowing members of Saddam Hussein”s family living there to fund a network seeking to destabilize Iraq.
Government spokesman Laith Kubba said the former Iraqi dictator”s relatives in Jordan have "huge amounts of money" to support efforts to revive his Baath Party organizations. Kubba did not specify the family members, but Saddam”s two oldest daughters live in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
"It is regrettable to say that there still are large numbers of elements, not only former regime elements, but supervisors of some terrorist groups, who are in Jordan," Kubba told reporters.
Relations between Jordan and Iraq have been strained since the collapse of Saddam”s regime in 2003 over various issues. However, it appeared Kubba”s statements were aimed in part at deflecting criticism from Jordan about the possible involvement of Iraqis in subversive operations in Jordan.
Jordanian police have detained an undetermined number of Iraqis as well as other foreign Arab suspects in the Friday rocket attack that barely missed a U.S. warship in Aqaba.
"We don”t want Jordan to harm a quarter of a million Iraqis (living in Jordan) because of one Iraqi" involved in the Friday attack, Kubba said.
Kubba also said a major electricity line between the northern town of Beiji and Baghdad was attacked two days ago, "and this will, of course, affect the power supply in Baghdad." He added that repairs have already begun.
Kubba expressed hope that political leaders would complete the draft of the new constitution in time for the Monday night deadline for parliamentary approval. He said a basic agreement had been worked out "but everybody is playing with everybody else”s nerves."
However, most of the latest agreements have been reached between Shiite and Kurdish negotiators, prompting Sunni Arabs to complain of being sidelined. They have warned they will reject the new constitution if Shiites and Kurds push it through parliament without Sunni consent.
Sunnis object to several proposals, including federalism, distribution of oil wealth and a special status for the Shiite clerical hierarchy in Najaf.
"They will surprise us in the final hour," Saleh al-Mutlaq, one of four main Sunni negotiators, told The Associated Press late Saturday. "We will reject it and the people will be angry, the street will be angry and as a result we will be back to square one."
Shiites and Kurds have enough seats in the 275-member parliament to push through a constitution without Sunni approval. Doing so, however, risks a backlash among Sunni Arabs, who are at the forefront of the insurgency. That would undermine the U.S. goal of a constitution that would satisfy all Iraqi communities and in time lure Sunnis away from the insurgency.
Al-Mutlaq alleged that the Americans, Shiites and Kurds were cutting deals and "we have no idea what is going on."
Once the constitution is approved by parliament, it will go to the voters in a national referendum Oct. 15.
U.S. officials have expressed hope that a new constitution will allow for a reduction in the American force there — it now numbers about 138,000 troops. But Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army”s top general, said Saturday the Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq for four more years.
As the constitutional haggling dragged into its final hours, violence continued unabated.
Two officials of the Interior Ministry”s security department were shot dead as they drove through western Baghdad, police Lt. Majid Zaki said.
In Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, a policeman and a civilian were was killed by insurgents in a drive-by shooting, and five members of a single family were found shot dead overnight, a police spokesman said.