Mounting Tension in New Iraqi Government

April 28 16:25 2005 Print This Article

Signs aren’t good in the Iraqi Government despite the spin of mainstream media and the US Government.
Iraqi politicians in a vote agreed partially to Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari’s submitted cabinet after three months of political stagnation.Importantly in a 275-seat parliament, there was 90 members of Parliament absent, with them being a considerable number of Sunni Muslims.Of the 185 present , 180 MPs voted in favor for 32 of the 37-member cabinet .
There were five key ministeries, including the oil and defense portfolios,still to be agreed on.Sunni’s are demanding the defense post go to a Sunni to allay fears of a witch hunt and a terror campaign against Sunni communities thought to be harboring Iraqi insurgents.The selection submitted by the Sunni Vice President Ghazi al-Yawar was rejected and is now being tempoarily filled by the Prime Minister Jaafari, while the oil portfolio will be filled by Ahmed Chalabi another Shiite politician until a permanent choice is selected. The appointment of Chalabi an exiled Shi’ite with close ties to the Pentagon and who was convicted of bank fraud in Jordan is creating frustration to the Sunni memebers of Parliament.
Ghazi al-Yawar was dismayed that some ministries were left vacant and threatend that Sunni ministers could step down if his minority community did not obtain at least the Defence Ministry.

“It’s simple and easy, if they fail to satisfy the Sunni Arabs …. the Sunnis might simply withdraw their candidates” from the government, he told reporters. “We’re not happy, but we have to wait until all the nominations are permanent before we do anything.”
Also likely to create tension in the future is the non appointment of any members of former prime minister, Allawi’s party. Allawi’s party, mainly secular Shiites won 40 seats in parliament and was seeking many cabinet posts and was one of the reasons for the protracted delay in forming a Cabinet.His party is likely to add to the behind the scenes bickering and bargaining.
Meanwhile Saddam Hussein turns 68 today.

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