Iraqi parliament votes in new 'unity' government
Only 179 of the 328 members of Iraqi parliament were present when the session began, but those lawmakers not boycotting the proceedings managed to vote in a new "unity government which, naturally, threatened to split apart before it was even born.(Eventually, another 100 legislators wandered in to the chamber to vote on the measure.)
However, the move gives President Obama his fig leaf to expand the war in Iraq and go after ISIS in Syria.
You tell me how long this government is going to last.
The vote to approve a new cabinet came during a fiery late-night parliamentary session. Key positions, including those of the defense and security chiefs, were left open amid controversy over who would fill them. Now confirmed as prime minister, Haider al-Abadi said he would name candidates for those positions within a week.
The new lineup meets U.S. demands for an inclusive government involving disenfranchised Sunni and Kurdish minorities, which the Obama administration has linked to further military assistance. President Obama is expected to address the nation Wednesday to outline a broader strategy to combat militants from the brutal al-Qaeda breakaway group Islamic State.
Late Monday, he called Abadi and emphasized “the need for the United States and Iraq to continue working closely with the international community to build on recent actions to counter the threat posed by the Islamic State,” according to a White House statement.
Abadi pledged to “work with all communities in Iraq,” the statement said, and move quickly “to address the aspirations and legitimate grievances of the Iraqi people.” American officials hope that the new government will be able to bridge divides and peel away support for the al-Qaeda splinter group, which is tearing apart Iraq’s borders.
Uncertainty over whether the vote would take place continued until the last minute after Kurdish politicians withdrew from talks and flew to Sulaymaniyah in the semiautonomous north, threatening to boycott the session if their demands over budget payments and oil sales were not met.
With a 30-day deadline for Abadi to appoint a government set to expire Wednesday, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, Brett McGurk, and the United Nations’ Iraq envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, traveled to Sulaymaniyah to meet with senior Kurdish leaders and persuade them to participate in the government, Iraqi officials said.
But Kurdish grievances were not the only ones that boiled over.
Frictions began as soon as Monday’s session got underway as Shiite parliamentarian Mohammed Naji took to the floor to lambaste the withdrawal of Hadi al-Amiri’s name to head the interior ministry. Amiri, who was formerly transport minister, is the head of the Badr Brigade, a Shiite militia that has been fighting the Islamic State north of Baghdad. Sunni politicians had strongly objected to his nomination.
The Sunnis have good reason to fear an interior minister headed up by the leader of the notorious Badr Brigade. Funded by Iran, the Badr Brigades were, until 2003, the military arm of the SCIRI - Surpreme Council for the Islamic Revoution in Iraq - and was accused of killing thousands of Sunnis in the sectarian slaughter once they separated from the party and struck out on their own.
This is Prime Minister Abadi's idea of an "inclusive" government.
Hovering in the background of the vote was former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who parliament voted in as vice president. Who in their right mind would give such a high office to someone who is probably looking to make a comeback, if not undermine the new government?
I give this government 3 months before it splits apart at the seams.