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
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
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

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam