US hails Iraq’s new government as a major ‘milestone’


Haider al-Abadi
Haider al-Abadi
The US has hailed the creation of a new government in Iraq as a major milestone and a crucial step towards defeating the militant group, Islamic State (IS).

Secretary of State John Kerry said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet had the “potential to unite all of Iraq’s diverse communities”.

Posts have been shared between the Shia Arab majority, Sunni Arabs and Kurds.

Mr Kerry is travelling to Saudi Arabia and Jordan this week as part of efforts to build a coalition to confront IS.

The jihadist group has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria and in June declared the creation of a “caliphate”, or Islamic state.

‘Legitimate grievances’
Among the first to telephone Mr Abadi to congratulate him was US President Barack Obama, who hopes the new government can start pulling Iraq back together.

The two leaders “agreed on the importance of having the new government quickly take concrete steps to address the aspirations and legitimate grievances of the Iraqi people”, a White House statement said.

The US had made the approval of a unity government a condition for increased military assistance.

Mr Abadi, a Shia Islamist, named three deputies – Hoshyar Zebari, the Kurdish outgoing foreign minister, Saleh al-Mutlak, a secular Sunni who held the same post in the last government, and Baha Arraji, a Shia Islamist and former MP.

Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shia former vice-president, was appointed oil minister and former PM Ibrahim Jaafari, also Shia, will be foreign minister. No defence or interior minister was named but Mr Abadi promised to do so within a week.

He vowed to “allow all people in Iraq to participate in liberating the cities and provinces which have been taken over by terrorist groups… and to bring back security and stability”.

The BBC’s Jim Muir in Irbil says the hope is that by including Sunnis, the new administration can win the support of the Sunni population in areas controlled by IS and turn them against the radicals.

Many Sunnis were alienated by the outgoing Shia-dominated government of Nouri Maliki and rebelled against it.

Later, Mr Kerry told reporters in Washington: “Iraq’s leaders must now govern with the same sense of purpose that helped them bring this government together.”

“The defeat of [IS] will be a long-term challenge but Iraq will have the support of the United States and its other friends and allies, as it rises above its differences, strengthens its democratic institutions, meets the needs of its vulnerable citizens, combats terrorism, and unites in its resolve against [IS],” he added.

The state department said Mr Kerry would travel to the Middle East on Tuesday to consult key partners on how to further support the Iraqi government, combat the threat posed by IS, and confront regional security challenges.
US air strikes iraq august september
He was expected to hold talks with the foreign ministers of Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf Arab states in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Wednesday and Thursday, Arab officials said.

Mr Obama will also unveil his strategy to combat IS on Wednesday.

He has ruled out the possibility of a US ground operation but sanctioned dozens of air strikes against the group in Iraq and reconnaissance flights over Syria.

“Over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of [IS],” he said on Sunday. “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we’re going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we’re going to defeat them.”

Analysis: Jim Muir, BBC News, Irbil
The Americans are hoping the new government can start pulling Iraq back together, and provide a springboard for a national drive to root out Islamic State militants. That can only work if the Sunni community can be persuaded that that is in their interests.

Mr Obama and Mr Abadi agreed on the need for the new government to address the aspirations and legitimate grievances of the Iraqi people – a clear reference to the Sunnis. Their demands include the release of detainees, an end to bombardment of Sunni areas, and a real share of power in Baghdad.

The task ahead is clearly massive. Among other things, the Iraqi army is in a state of disarray, and much of the recent fighting has been done by Shia militia, strengthening the element of sectarian civil strife that will have to be eliminated if the IS radicals are to be isolated and crushed, without whole communities being destroyed.




4 responses to “US hails Iraq’s new government as a major ‘milestone’”

  1. $89733098 Avatar

    “Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi is the third successive Dawa Party
    official to become Iraq’s elected chief executive since 2003. Abadi is
    also Iran’s man, much more so than his predecessors Ibrahim al-Jaafari
    and Nouri al-Maliki. His rise to power, together with the political
    arrangement reached by Washington and Tehran, gives Iran evermore
    control of its western neighbor. President Obama bizarrely claimed this
    as a success for his foreign policy.”

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      I guess the best anyone can say then, is that the USA still doesn’t understand anything going on over there on the ground, except the smell.
      But, about the Middle East, who ever could ??? It can’t explain itself.

  2. $89733098 Avatar

    welcomed Abadi’s appointment as a “step in the right direction” but
    said it was not enough, calling on him to immediately halt military
    operations such as air strikes on Falluja, west of Baghdad, which he
    said were killing innocent Sunni civilians.

    “If he wants to send positive messages to Sunni communities, why is he
    continuing the shelling and bombardment,” Hashemi said. “He should
    immediately put an end to the military aggression which has been started
    by Nuri al-Maliki.””

    Looks like nothing has changed in Iraq except the names.

  3. $89733098 Avatar

    The situation in Iraq today is worsening. Contemplating the state of that wounded country the following image illustrates:

    Foreign influence continues in Iraq. Security failure is growing. More
    citizen lives are claimed. Discrimination and exclusion intensifies with
    an outreach extending to cover all people of Iraq, wrongly and
    aggressively. Prisons are filled with hundreds of thousands of
    detainees, subjected to all kinds of torture. Executions are being
    carried out outside the scope of judiciary or through politicised
    courts. The state of institutions is absent. The phenomenon of militias
    continues to grow. The threat to divide and disintegrate the country is
    manifest. Arbitrary laws are issued, such as the law on terrorism and
    the law on questioning and justice. Corruption and looting of public
    funds is escalating. Citizens continue to suffer from critical lack of
    services and basic needs in result of the government’s failure and
    incapacity to achieve national reconciliation.

    This dreadful and frustrating image has pushed the Iraqi people to
    demonstrate and to protest peacefully throughout the year. The
    government, however, targeted the sites of their peaceful demonstrations
    with heavy weaponry and committed horrific massacres against them, such
    as in al-Hawija, al-Falujah and Diyala. This forced them to resort to
    armed rebellion in self-defence.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *