Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Iraqi PM says close to forming a government

Iraq's new Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said today that the main stumbling blocks to forming a cabinet had been overcome, that Iraq is close to formation of new cabinet and that he expects to present the new government to Parliament for approval by the end of the week.

According to al-Maliki, representatives of the political parties had agreed on candidates for all the main ministries. He didn't elaborate on who would get the key ministries of interior, which controls police, and defense, which runs the army.

The US and britain have finally wised up and are insisting that those posts go to people without ties to sectarian militias..in other words, not in Iran's pocket.

"The direction we took, and which was agreed upon by the political groups, was that the two who will occupy these posts be independent and unaffiliated with a party or a militia," he said at a news conference.

Good news, if it's true. Maliki, a Shia, appears to be doing a great deal to calm the situation,particularly in addressing Sunni concerns about the death squads operating
from the Shia Mahdi Army and the Badr Force...both backed by Iran.

Again, I'm cautiously optomistic.

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