Saturday, May 20, 2006

Iraqi Leaders Approve New Government - New York Times

Iraqi Leaders Approve New Government - New York Times

As the title says the new Iraqi Prime Minister has selected his cabinet and it has been approved. More progress, although I am disappointed in how long it has taken. Fortunately the new PM seems to want to hit the ground running:

In his first address, al-Maliki told parliament he would make restoring stability and security the top priority of his new administration. He said he would ''work fast'' to improve and coordinate Iraqi security forces so they can reduce attacks by insurgent groups and militias.

Al-Maliki also said he would set ''an objective timetable to transfer the full security mission to Iraqi forces, ending the mission of the multinational forces.''

But the challenges facing the new government were obvious when al-Maliki was unable to make a final decision about the top three security posts: defense minister, who oversees the Iraqi army; interior minister, who is responsible for police; and minister for national security.

Al-Maliki, a Shiite, said he would be acting interior minister for now, and he made Salam Zikam al-Zubaie, a Sunni Arab, the temporary defense minister. Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, a Kurd, was made acting minister for national security.

Al-Maliki hopes to fill all three posts with politicians who are independent and have no affiliation with any of Iraq's militias.

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