Iraqis sceptical over shake-up

Sunni Arabs fear that the Iraqi cabinet expected to be announced soon will not promote national unity but merely be another version of the previous Shia-dominated line-up.

    Al-Ani fears that the new cabinet will be more of the same

    In a telephone interview with, Dhafir al-Ani, the spokesman for the Iraqi Accordance Front - the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament - said he hoped that the incoming cabinet would not be formed on the same basis as outgoing Ibrahim al-Jafari's government.


    "We hope the process will not be by changing names only, we know ministers are not the core of the problem," he said.


    "Unless the way of thinking and dealing with national issues changes, nothing could be achieved.

    We are looking for a national unity government, a government that would be like a s

    alad bowl that contains all different colours but yet are in harmony." 


    Severely marginalised

    Al-Ani, a former professor of political science whose bloc has 44 seats out of 275 in Iraq's parliament, said that Iraq is in a state of political chaos and many political groups are severely marginalised.


    "The situation needs an intelligent way of handling, many in Iraq fear that the newly introduced democracy would be turned into a dictatorship of the majority," he said.


    "Definitely democracy does not mean that one group dominates the whole scene and gives the others nominal roles."

    Al-Ani blamed the US for causing sectarianism in Iraq, saying it drew a political map that lacks any political ideology.


    "Many in Iraq fear that the newly introduced democracy would be turned into a dictatorship of the majority."

    Dhafir al-Ani

    "Iraq is in a desperate need for leaders that believe only in Iraq as a homeland, and its dignity, prosperity, and sovereignty is the duty of every honourable Iraqi," he said.


    "Those who are loyal to a specific sect, political group or religion, and put their interests before Iraq's national issues, must be excluded from any leading posts."


    Conflicting messages

    Speculation about the new cabinet varies greatly in Baghdad, and the fate of important ministries is also widely disputed.


    Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister-designate, said in a press conference on Tuesday that he expects to be able to form a government within the next two days.


    Sources told it was probable that al-Maliki would present his unfinished cabinet to the parliament this week, but would continue negotiating some key posts that need further discussions.  

    Salih al-Mutlag, the secretary-general of the Iraqi National Dialogue and member of the parliament, did not expect the cabinet to be fully announced for a week or 10 days. Al-Mutlag's bloc has 11 seats in the parliament.


    "Interior and defence ministry have not been agreed on yet among Iraq's political factions. It will take some time," Mutlag said.


    "Definitely democracy does not mean that one group dominates the whole scene and gives the others nominal roles."

    Dhafir al-Ani

    Al-Maliki said on Tuesday that the interior and defence ministries would go to independent figures who were not linked to political parties or armed militias.


    But Nasir al-Saadi of the Shia Iraqi Alliance, the biggest bloc in Iraq's parliament, said on Wednesday that the interior ministry had already been given to one of his alliance's members.


    Bayan Jabr Soulagh, the current interior minister and a member of the Iran-backed SCIRI Shia Islamist party, which controls the armed Badr movement, has been accused of condoning police death squads.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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