Coming attractions: The Iraqi Civil War
While Iraqi politicians fiddle
Iraq's New Government Approved
By Caryle Murphy and Fred Barbash
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 28, 2005; 10:03 AM
BAGHDAD, April 28 -- Iraq's National Assembly approved a list of cabinet appointees Thursday, giving life to the country's new government after almost three months of negotiations.
Rather than prolong the paralysis that had held up the process of forming a government since the Jan. 20 elections, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari submitted a cabinet list that included five acting ministers along with 27 ministers.
Despite the approval Thursday, Sunni politicians remained deeply dissatisfied with the makeup of the government.
The assembly vote, by a show of hands, ratified the choices worked out by Jafari and political leaders representing Iraq's main religious and ethnic interest groups in a delicate balancing act complicated by a dispute about the role, if any, of politicians formerly associated with Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath Party.
The Cabinet was approved by 180 lawmakers out of the 185 present in the 275-member parliament, Speaker Hajim Hassani announced to applause.
Jafari, a Shiite, will be acting defense minister, a position that was supposed to go to a Sunni Arab. Ahmed Chalabi, a secular Shiite leader and onetime favorite of the Pentagon, will be one of four deputy prime ministers and acting oil minister.
As soon as the assembly approved the new cabinet, however, leaders of the Sunni Arab community issued complaints about how the new government had been chosen.
Though Sunni Arabs boycotted January's landmark elections, the Shiites and Kurds were keen to have them participate in the government in the hope that this would help defuse the Sunni-led insurgency.
"It was very disappointing for us that most of our candidates has been sent back," said Iraqi vice president Sheikh Ghazi Yawar, who had been negotiating for the Sunni Arab community with Jafari's predominantly Shiite Muslim political coalition.
He said that contrary to what the Shiites alleged, none of the Sunni candidates had ties to the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein. The Sunni candidates, he added, "are all non-Baathist."
For example, Yawar said, Sadoun Al Dulame, who was rejected by the Shiites for minister of defense, is a sociologist who left Iraq. He was sentenced to death by Hussein, and worked closely with U.S. officials in 2003 on planning post-war reconstruction in Iraq.
Civil War, coming soon
posted by Steve @ 12:57:00 AM