Iraq’s Parliamentary “Hawk Squad”

Although it is true that men are the main protagonists in Iraq's political scene, women have carved a special place for themselves as key players to be reckoned with in parliament. The list is a long one and includes Hanan al-Fatlawi who has won her seat in the Transitional National Assembly in the last two parliamentary elections. Fatlawi proved she was fearless when she conducted interrogations of the electoral commission. The deputy narrated how she practiced for those interrogation sessions. "This office witnessed many rehearsals. I used to bring one of my sons to play the role of Faraj al-Haydar (head of the election commission) and imagine how the interrogation process might be." Despite their different intellectual and political orientation, Fatlawi and other female parliamentarians often proved to be a challenge for parliamentary speaker, Osama Al Najifi especially after they took on the subject of parliamentary expenditures. Fatlawi says that women face many challenges working in politics and it is not an easy task. "It is a matter of trusting women's capabilities and giving them the opportunity to fully participate in the political sphere. However, women still face roadblocks," she said. Fatlawi admits that prior to running and winning in 2003, she never imagined herself as a politician. "I wanted to pursue medicine, and spent all my life in the medical field. But fate had other plans and after the regime collapsed, I found myself being elected for the first time as a member in the Transitional National Assembly." Fatlawi and her female colleagues are now known as "Parliament's Hawks" after they tackled the issue of examining and questioning the most pressing of issues. Arabic report by: Muntathar Rasheed Translation: Stanela Khalil Voice: Nadia Idriss Mayen

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