Iraqis agree on new government but doubts about future remain

Iraq's incoming prime minister said yesterday that he will go ahead with presenting his Cabinet for parliamentary approval despite failing to reach agreement with other political and sectarian coalitions over the critical defense and interior ministries.

A senior official in the main Sunni Arab Accordance Front, Adnan al-Dulaimi, said his coalition would support Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet choices.

Al-Maliki's decision came as roadside bombs and other attacks killed at least 17 Iraqis and wounded 32 people.

The fate of a kidnapped Emirati diplomat was uncertain after his brother retracted an earlier statement that the hostage was free, saying the family had received no confirmation of his brother's release.

The prime minister-designate met with officials of other groups and said a decision had been made on the rest of the Cabinet "except for defense and interior ministries." He said he would present his nominees Saturday for approval to the 275-member parliament - known as the Council of Representatives.

Despite his failure to find acceptable nominees for the two posts, it was unlikely al-Maliki would take the risk of presenting a deal parliament would reject.

"We decided on the names of the ministers and we will announce them" Saturday "except for interior and defense ministries. Both will be acting (temporary) ministers until we will choose the best ministers for those posts," he said.

Sunni Arabs want the Defense Ministry, which runs the army, while the Shiites want the Interior Ministry, which controls the police.

The Cabinet list, its members or its number has not been released, and al-Maliki said he will make it public when parliament convenes in the heavily fortified Green Zone. It remains unclear what will happen if any nominee is rejected.

Deputy parliament speaker Khalid al-Attiyah told The Associated Press that al-Maliki would serve as acting interior minister for a week. He said that Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, a Sunni Arab who is a deputy with the main Accordance Front, would temporarily head the Defense Ministry for the same period to allow time for agreement to be reached on permanent ministers.

Al-Zubaie, who is the Sunni Arab nominee for deputy premier, heads the Agriculture Engineers Union and is a member of a Sunni political group, the General Conference of the Iraqi People.

"It doesn't matter to us that they will announce the government without the defense or interior ministries, and appoint the deputy prime minister from the Accordance Front to the defense post and the prime minister to the interior ministry," al-Dulaimi said.

But he said a decision should be made quickly because "the security situation is still unstable and there are numerous acts of killing and theft."

Al-Maliki did not say when the interior and defense ministers would be chosen, but said the two posts would be given to people "who will be well known as independents, honest, not loyal to any militia or the equivalent."

It had been known that a final deal was still in the works when al-Maliki announced earlier that he would go ahead and seek parliamentary approval for his Cabinet.

Al-Maliki has been so certain it would be approved that he shortened the process to allow the immediate inauguration of his government, a sign of his determination to waste no time addressing the new administration's top priority - security.

The second-highest ranking US general in Iraq said the key to reducing violence in Iraq was to ensure that the new government can revive the economy.

"I honestly believe that as this government begins work on the policies that will be required to put people to work and make use of the vast resources of Iraq that you're going to see a decrease in violence," Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of Multi-national Corps Iraq, told reporters.

In Baghdad, there was also no confirmation of the release of Naji Rashid al-Nuaimi, 28, the first secretary at the United Arab Emirates Embassy from Iraqi authorities. In the Emirates' capital Abu Dhabi, a government official declined to comment on the report.

Al-Noaimi was seized Tuesday night in Baghdad by gunmen who shot and wounded his Sudanese driver. The kidnapping was another blow to Iraq's campaign to get Arab states to post ambassadors to Baghdad, despite an insurgency which saw the kidnapping and killing of three Arab diplomats last July.

His brother, Mohammed al-Nuaimi, had earlier said the family had been told by the government that he was free, but later retracted that statement.

In Friday's worst violence, a gunbattle between suspected insurgents and Iraqi police killed five civilians and wounded eight in Jihad, a neighborhood of western Baghdad, said police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq. He said U.S. forces helped police seal off the area after the fighting.

Another five men were killed and six injured in western Baghdad when gunmen fired on the minibus they were on. The five worked at a nearby swimming pool, Capt. Jemil Hussein of the Yarmouk police station said, and added it was unclear why they were killed.

Gunmen killed a former Baath party member, Ghazi Hussein, in Hafriyah village south of Baghdad, police said. Omer Serri, the secretary of Ramadi's governor, was shot and killed while driving in the western Anbar city.

Police also found the bullet-ridden bodies of four Iraqis who had been kidnapped and tortured by some of the many death squads that are active in the capital.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas